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Transport 21 - Rail, Luas & Road

  • 27-05-2010 12:24am
    #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 3,032 DWCommuter


    I'm gonna put this out to the forum, not for the sake of creating controversy (although it will) but to discuss in a realistic and economically based fashion.

    Interconnector, Navan line, Luas extensions and link up, Metro North, Metro West and anything else with rails will not happen.

    Major road projects like the M20, ARC, New Ross bypass, Galway bypass etc. won't happen either.

    By 2015 (the completion date for T21) most of it will not have been achieved, not only because of recession, but also because of gross political and organisational mismanagement.

    I predict that over the coming years recession will kill off these projects even in terms of being plans on the table. They will be consigned to the bin and if wealth ever comes our way again, the Government of the day will reinvent it all and we'll be back to the square one position of having to refloat everything from scratch.


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 635 ✭✭✭ Jayuu


    I actually think some of these projects will actually happen although not in the 2015 timescale and perhaps not as part of one overall plan like T21. On the rail side I reckon Metro North, the Interconnector and some of the Luas extentions will limp on. On the road side I think M20 will be built. I'm not sure what ARC is? And some of the other roads will be built as money allows.

    As for the idea that a government further down the line will come up with new plans, that might not be any bad thing. Lets say we manage to get back to some form of heavy infrastructure spending by 2020. It probably would be better for the government of that day to draw up plans based on the needs of the country in 2020 as opposed to dredging back up plans that would be 15-20 years old at that stage. The plans of T21 may not suit the country of ten years time.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,468 BluntGuy


    Jayuu wrote: »
    The plans of T21 may not suit the country of ten years time.

    The plans for T21 don't suit the country today, or tommorow, or last week, or 5 years ago, or 10 years in the future. It's mostly a re-hash of old plans and then some politically-motivated rubbish thrown in.

    I wouldn't be as negative as to say nothing will go ahead. But the RPA's recent crayon fest I think is about to come to an end. Luas West and Lucan Luas are a waste of money and any vaguely sensible government will scrap them. Interconnector, or a variant of it, is a project I think really needs to go ahead, but this side of 2020? I doubt it. I reckon 2018 is simply the first of many delays we may be hearing.

    I haven't a clue what's going to happen with MN. I dunno where the government is going to get the money to pay for it, the RPA are good at making it look like progress is happening, but when the planning process is over and with the tender process in final stages, it's crunchtime. If FG get in, the project is scrapped if Enda is to be believed. That can be extrapolated to IC. He says he plans to extend the WRC.

    On the roads side of things, we know over 90 projects were already cancelled. However, I doubt too many major plans will be scrapped. I can see the M20 being kept on the cards even if it doesn't start til post 2014/2015. I'm not as worried for roads plans getting scrapped though.

    The fact this government couldn't even put in the backbone of an integrated rail system in Dublin in their 12 + years of power is disgraceful.


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,887 ✭✭✭✭ murphaph


    Tax revenues are back at 2003/2004 levels. We were already building large scale infrastructural projects (port tunnel, motorways to everywhere) back then. The plans for the Interconnector were being made.

    The problem isn't tax revenues as I see it...the problem is that spending on public "services" (do a myriad of stupid quangos count?) EXPLODED in the last few years, and it's much easier to give than to take away, but that's precisely what this government needs to do, to take it away and reduce expenditure on the public sector. The blunt force instrument of across the board paycuts has its place in this, but will only go so far. We need a more clinical, surgical approach to removing people who literally do little or nothing, or could be easily replaced by amalgamation of departments (do we really need a personnel or payroll dept. for EVERY county council?).

    If we cut out the dead wood, amalgamate silly little county councils (Ireland is a very small, centrally funded country) into regional authorities and MAKE SUPERFLUOUS STAFF REDUNDANT then we can continue building the infrastructure we will need if we are ever to recover. The money is there for infrastructure, it is just that we are borrowing 20bn a year to pay wages for staff that could be made redundant. Look at the swift action being taken across the water by the Tories to eliminate quangos and simply make 300,000 public servants redundant. We need that approach here: a reduction in public servants != a reduction in public services (if handled properly).


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,468 BluntGuy


    I actually think tax revenues are a big part of it.

    I think people need to accept they need to pay more tax.

    Can't have something for nothing. You can argue it will drive away businesses, but the fact of the matter is, we've lowered tax (particularly corporation tax) to such a point that lowering it any further would just be utterly counter-productive.


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,887 ✭✭✭✭ murphaph


    There's not much can be done at the top end (high earners already pay most tax). The only thing that can be done, and it should be done, is to widen the tax net at the lower end and to introduce property taxes to stabilise the tax base somewhat.

    Both measures will be politically unpopular but need to happen. They tried just increasing taxes based on current bands last year and taxes declined further, indicating that we reached the point of diminishing returns for taxpayers in the higher tax brackets.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,468 BluntGuy


    Agreed certainly on the property taxes.

    Also, whatever government gets in next needs to resist the temptation to just start chopping down taxes to win political points.

    I do think people will put up with the higher taxes if they see their services retained and improved.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,464 ✭✭✭ munchkin_utd


    BluntGuy wrote: »
    I actually think tax revenues are a big part of it.

    I think people need to accept they need to pay more tax.

    Can't have something for nothing. You can argue it will drive away businesses, but the fact of the matter is, we've lowered tax (particularly corporation tax) to such a point that lowering it any further would just be utterly counter-productive.
    Irish tax rates are still astonishingly low.
    After the last irish tax hikes I compared it to what I am paying in germany and I'd still have 100s more in my pocket in Ireland compared to Germany.

    50% of workers (not the population incl kids and aul wans etc - workers..) dont pay a cent of income tax.

    Say the 1million workers paid 90 euro a month (which would hardly get you a night out in town)
    But multiply it by the million people, thats about a grand a year each or a BILLION euros extra in total.

    but somehow HALF the workers of Ireland are deemed exempt from contributing to the coffers of the state.

    mad


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,975 ✭✭✭ Chris_5339762


    The M17/18, M20, Newlands/N11 I reckon will all go ahead in full. NewRoss/M11 is the least likely and the one that could be scrapped the easiest, especially given the sheer size of the New Ross bridge. The Galway bypass may be lumped in as well.

    Any other projects, aside from a few local bypasses, are gone. N24 gone especially. Vast tracts of 2+2 will not be built.

    The M17/18 will go ahead as it is the last link in that chain and will be a big vote grab for the west (especially from everyone who has to navigate Claregalway, even though it wont solve it).

    I still think the M20 will be done, I reckon the penny has finally dropped that these two schemes are a massive missing link in the chain. It really is the only big gap in the network; after the M20 is done realistically there does not need to be ANY new motorways in the country, just some widenings, lots of S2 realignment and the odd bit of 2+2 thrown in for luck.

    M20 will be the last big motorway build in the country I reckon, and its the last one that will be needed for a long time.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 21,727 Godge


    murphaph wrote: »
    Tax revenues are back at 2003/2004 levels. We were already building large scale infrastructural projects (port tunnel, motorways to everywhere) back then. The plans for the Interconnector were being made.

    The problem isn't tax revenues as I see it...the problem is that spending on public "services" (do a myriad of stupid quangos count?) EXPLODED in the last few years, and it's much easier to give than to take away, but that's precisely what this government needs to do, to take it away and reduce expenditure on the public sector. The blunt force instrument of across the board paycuts has its place in this, but will only go so far. We need a more clinical, surgical approach to removing people who literally do little or nothing, or could be easily replaced by amalgamation of departments (do we really need a personnel or payroll dept. for EVERY county council?).

    If we cut out the dead wood, amalgamate silly little county councils (Ireland is a very small, centrally funded country) into regional authorities and MAKE SUPERFLUOUS STAFF REDUNDANT then we can continue building the infrastructure we will need if we are ever to recover. The money is there for infrastructure, it is just that we are borrowing 20bn a year to pay wages for staff that could be made redundant. Look at the swift action being taken across the water by the Tories to eliminate quangos and simply make 300,000 public servants redundant. We need that approach here: a reduction in public servants != a reduction in public services (if handled properly).

    The clinical surgical approach will not happen, takes political guts which is a step above political will, and political will is too often lacking in Ireland.

    Anyway amalgamating back office HR, payroll and finance will not save more than a hill of beans. Unless we address savings in frontline delivery - less nurses per ward, teachers and lecturers delivering over a longer period and gardai working when people actually commit crimes - we will never achieve the required savings.


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,887 ✭✭✭✭ murphaph


    Godge wrote: »
    The clinical surgical approach will not happen, takes political guts which is a step above political will, and political will is too often lacking in Ireland.

    Anyway amalgamating back office HR, payroll and finance will not save more than a hill of beans. Unless we address savings in frontline delivery - less nurses per ward, teachers and lecturers delivering over a longer period and gardai working when people actually commit crimes - we will never achieve the required savings.
    I strongly disagree.

    Ireland has something like 85 planning departments. Every sh!tty little town council gets to stick it's oar into it. Scrap town councils with immediate effect I say, immediately amalgamating them into their parent county at a bare minimum. I would however go much further, scrapping county councils across vast swathes of Ireland and replacingb them with 4 or 5 regional authorities with administrative authority over their cities. We MUST get joined up land use and transport planning and this is an obvious way to do it.

    In scrapping all these county councils, how many admin staff could be let go? Thousands probably. I would scrap the Seanad tomorrow to save another few million a year and scrap a load of quangos and cut funding to lots of agencies people don't even realise are government funded! The HSE is the best known example of waste in the PS: the healthboards were amalgamated into the HSE BUT nobody was made redundant: crazy stuff! An ex of mine was in IT with the NEHB, she told me she could easily cover her function for the whole country if need be but she didn't have to as each of the old health board regions held onto their individual IT staff, despite the HSE being created. This wasteful use of resources is ENDEMIC in the Irish public sector and this recession will be the best thing that ever happened to the septic isle if it forces change. The old trick of simply devaluing the Punt and giving everyone a paycut in the process is not an option under the Euro, thank God. Our government is being forced into action by being a Euro member state. If we make it out the other side we should be stronger for it, but people need to vote away from populist policies involving lots of tax breaks and public sector spending: it doesn't work.

    I agree that frontline staff need to be looked at: there can be no sacred cows, including nurses (where we have more nurses per capita than France, for example). All aspects need tackling and there are massive savings waiting there for any government with the balls to make them. The end result will be fewer public servants, but is that really a bad thing?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 279 ✭✭ coolperson05


    I agree with the cut in public servants. Health Services, Revenue are all overstaffed on the admin side. People in Ireland just want everything. And Transport 21 and big-unrealistic projects like it pretend to deliver it.

    People want a motorway to everywhere, a hospital capable of everything in their town, a revenue office, a town council, an arena, an airport, everything! Ireland only has 4 million people (approx!) The development should be based around the cities, not just Dublin which the government complain that they can't keep up with the growth yet they continually shove more people, businesses, motorways, transport into. No other country has such an all or nothing city as Dublin.
    Cork is only merely cowering behind in the last few years, and Limerick, Galway and Waterford may aswell not exist except for a motorway to Dublin.

    And the answer to road building is to not build it. For the size of the country, a decent public transport system would suffice for most of the other routes. Proper trains that deliver real time savings (theres nothing in front of them!) from Cork to Limerick, Limerick to Galway, across the midlands. Not trains that stop at 6pm and buses that stop at 8. Or that 3 train changes later through Dublin you can get to your destination. I think much more planning than money needs to come into this country. For transport, health, administration, etc.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,281 ✭✭✭ westtip


    DWCommuter wrote: »
    I'm gonna put this out to the forum, not for the sake of creating controversy (although it will) but to discuss in a realistic and economically based fashion.

    Interconnector, Navan line, Luas extensions and link up, Metro North, Metro West and anything else with rails will not happen.

    Major road projects like the M20, ARC, New Ross bypass, Galway bypass etc. won't happen either.

    By 2015 (the completion date for T21) most of it will not have been achieved, not only because of recession, but also because of gross political and organisational mismanagement.

    I predict that over the coming years recession will kill off these projects even in terms of being plans on the table. They will be consigned to the bin and if wealth ever comes our way again, the Government of the day will reinvent it all and we'll be back to the square one position of having to refloat everything from scratch.

    DW I agree enirely with the OP. Does everyone remember Gateways and Hubs etc - what a load of old baloney that turned out to be. Kept someone busy creating fancy .pdfs to download from departmental websites with fancy arrows pointing hither and tither. I see the debate has gone onto the usual debate about how we have not a bean to pay for all this and we are maxed on the Euro Credit card. What a lost opportunity the last decade was.

    DW you are quite right - any future big spend projects ain't going to happen what has happened is there and has made a difference the rest of Transport 21 forget it (including you know WOT:-) )


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,278 ✭✭✭ dowlingm


    It's important that infrastructure - road and rail - not come to a complete stop. We wouldn't shut down medical courses at universities for 5 years because it would lead to disastrous shortages of personnel and migration of medical academics to other jurisdictions. Similarly, we must retain a core of engineering talent in this country and ensure they continue to work on quality projects to retain their interest and justify paying them competitive salaries to what they might get in other jurisdictions. The world might be in "a state of chassis" but lots of stuff is still being built and quality talent is always being looked out for.

    Accordingly, IE, RPA and NRA must be allowed to continue expanding their infrastructure outside of "state of good repair" but one project at a time, or in NRA's case maybe two.

    If RPA pick Metro North then all LUAS lines and Metro West hits a stop line until MN design is complete at which time personnel can be migrated to design and planning of whichever project is deemed next in line. If IE picks Interconnector then Pace-Navan hits a stop line, Maynooth electrification would have to wait and much of the EMU order back-loaded for a similar period (probably entailing temporary dieselisation of the Bray line).

    This will cause ructions since it goes against the spread the wealth/parity of esteem/social justice tide but the alternative is a full shutdown and we saw how long it took to recover from the 80s in the painful build up to the activity of the late 90s - kilometres of road built a year, not tens or hundreds and so on.

    @westtip - the Spatial Strategy had a good deal of sense in how it was envisioned initially but it involved ignoring smaller towns in favour of reinforcing large centres and that was completely antithetical to how politics is done in Ireland.

    It would be nice to think that government could be decentralised to the extent that major semistates and government departments could be relocated to the extent that a town of 5,000 people could have the HQ of Bus Eireann for instance - but it can't. The Sp.St. was too much too soon to please too many people (by which I mean government TDs and Senators). It should have started with an assessment of infrastructure and people available and where we were overcapacity (Dublin), and where we weren't.

    Just because a town is small doesn't mean it's under capacity - if it was an under served train station and an empty motorway beside it and plenty of water and sewerage and power, not to mention an underemployed workforce or one that is largely commuting elsewhere - that makes it under capacity.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 624 Aidan1


    The HSE is the best known example of waste in the PS: the healthboards were amalgamated into the HSE BUT nobody was made redundant

    This was entirely a political decision - the reckoning at the time was that at least a thousand jobs could have been cut, and that's what the Department of Health wanted to do (it was largely the point of creating the HSE in the first place). But no dice. Today, with fewer (but better) hospitals, even more could be cut without any real effect on services. The HSE exists to provide services, not employment, a fact that is lost on many.

    I suspect that 4-5 regional authorities may be too few - I suggest 7, each focused on a regional centre (Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway, Sligo, and Waterford), with the aim that each would have at least 300,000 people.
    Does everyone remember Gateways and Hubs etc

    The NSS was a politicised fudge - the actual 'solution' required has remained the same since Buchanan in 1968, and remains about as politically palatable *(ie. focus economic growth on one or two cities outside of Dublin) - but there was good stuff in the NSS too, and it was a start at least. Hopefully, post review, future Govts (and NAMA) will pay heed to it.

    More recently, this report, published last year is a good one.

    http://www.mwra.ie/Publications/documents/StateofTheRegionsReportFinalPublishedversion5May2009.pdf

    More particularly, the 'Challenges' section in the transport section (p64) is particularly pertinent. Essentially, it's an evidence based assessment of what the real challenges are, and while it doesn't deal head on with some of the issues (such as the spread of urban generated once off rural housing), it does refer to them in a roundabout way.

    I think the cities outside of Dublin have done relatively well in the last while in terms of infrastructure, but some of them (Galway and Limerick particularly) are paying the price for decades of bad planning


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,278 ✭✭✭ dowlingm


    I think O'Cuiv's idea where town councils are essentially subsets of county councils is not the worst idea I've heard. Town councils should be outposts of county authorities but retain flexibility to reflect the difference between a commuter town and one with an employment base of its own etc. Local services are the ones which impact people most directly. Small county councils should be given permission to create shared services and given a portion of the savings to meet their currently unfunded needs. Leitrim could have the planning office and Roscommon could have the roads office for both counties or something similar. If cutting council numbers just looks like central government cutting its own costs rather than spending money better, it will be fiercely resisted and not completely without cause.


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