Graham Hickey wrote:A physical link, or a pair of look-like-a-link lines on a map?
Metro line key feature of new transport plans
THE Metro rail line, linking Dublin city with the airport, is definitely going ahead, the Government will announce tomorrow.
A 10-year transport plan for the nation, to be unveiled at Dublin Castle, will also see an interconnector between Heuston and Connolly stations, and there will be a new docklands train station.
The Irish Independent has learned details of the huge investment plan for road and rail, especially in the Dublin region.
The framework for investment over the next decade involves particular commitments:
* An estimated €]
[B]* €1bn to be invested on an interconnector rail link between Heuston and Connolly stations, and linking all mainline and Dart services.
* The €600m completion of the Eastern bypass.
* A new train station and spur line at Spencer Dock.
* Significant upgrading of the Maynooth line.
* €1bn a year, every year, for the completion of major road projects.
The 10-year transport plan has been the most closely guarded secret in government for years.
Unveiling it tomorrow, the Taoiseach will conjure up a vision of easy commuting in the future through the planning of investment now.
He and senior ministers see the integrated concept as the major plank of their case for an historic third consecutive term in government, with an implied risk to the delivery of the plan if the voters should break with the ruling Coalition.
And the Government is expected to counter political flak over the heavy investment in transport infrastructure in the capital - cockpit of the next general election - by announcing a series of smaller projects around the country, including the refurbishment of the Western rail corridor.
Some sections of this line, which formerly ran from Sligo to Limerick, are likely to be re-opened. A necklace of road projects will relieve traffic bottlenecks elsewhere.
But the main focus of the blueprint remains on Dublin in what is described as "the most ambitious transport plan in the history of the State".
The metro service from the city centre to the airport will take a route that services Dorset Street and Dublin City University, according to the plans.
The interconnector between Heuston and Connolly stations will be located entirely on the south side of the river Liffey - instead of consisting of a loop running along both banks, as had been previously envisaged.
A feasibility study into the "M50's big brother" is further expected to recommend the beginning of construction on the so-called outer orbital route. This will place a new C-ring motorway outside the existing M50, enabling motorists to travel from Drogheda to Wicklow via Naas.
The upgrading of the Maynooth line, plagued by a lack of capacity, has long been expected. What is not yet clear is the Government's intentions in relation to Dublin Bus, which says it has been starved of resources for its fleet.
The Government has asked the company to outline how it can operate a more efficient service, with the widespread operation of private buses on city routes under active consideration.