Dáil Éireann - Volume 599 - 24 March, 2005

Written Answers. - Transport Infrastructure Strategy.

  13. Mr. O’Dowd asked the Minister for Transport if his officials have finalised the ten year transport infrastructure strategy; if this strategy has been approved by Cabinet; the anticipated level of funding allocated to this strategy; when it will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9712/05]

  28. Mr. O’Shea asked the Minister for Transport the number of occasions on which the Cabinet sub-committee on public transport met in 2005; whether the public transport plan has been approved; when he proposes to announce [2038] this plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9671/05]

  54. Mr. Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Transport when his Department started to analyse the order of investment priorities that will be made in the proposed new ten year transport plan; when the plan will be available; the other Departments, local authorities, State agencies and consultants which have been involved in the work; and the amount spent on outside consultancies to date in this regard. [9740/05]

  Mr. Cullen: I propose to take Questions Nos. 13, 28 and 54 together.

My Department made a presentation on the draft ten year transport investment framework to the Cabinet sub-committee on infrastructure, housing and PPPs on 9 March and it is currently under consideration by the sub-committee. I have also sought the advice of the Attorney General on the possible application of the EU Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive to this investment framework. I will bring proposals to Government in due course once the Cabinet sub-committee has concluded its work and I have received and considered the Attorney General’s advice. It is not possible to comment on the level of funding to be made available over the ten years pending a Government decision.

The analysis of investment priorities is an ongoing feature of the work of my Department, particularly in the context of the multi-annual capital envelopes. This work is carried out in consultation with the agencies under the aegis of my Department and involves ongoing contacts and discussions with a wide range of other interested parties.

The development of the draft investment framework commenced in the final months of 2004. It is taking account of the work already done on investment priorities under the current capital envelope to end 2009 and of the various strategic studies already completed by my Department and its agencies, including A Platform for Change, the strategic rail review and the national road needs study. More specifically, my Department has engaged with Córas Iompair Éireann, the Railway Procurement Agency, the National Roads Authority and the Dublin Transportation Office in order to identify the broad direction and priorities under the ten year investment framework. My Department has also consulted with other Departments, primarily through the cross-departmental team of officials which supports the Cabinet sub-committee.

A small team of officials from my Department is developing the draft investment framework. The Department has not to date engaged any consultants to specifically assist or advise it in developing the draft framework. However, it is benefiting from the advice of Goodbody Economic Consultants, who were engaged before work on the investment framework commenced, to review the business cases submitted by CIE in [2039] support of various projects, including its greater Dublin integrated rail network proposals.