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Transport Minister's Dáil questions April 2011

  • 21-04-2011 2:29pm
    #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 724 ✭✭✭ dynamick


    I'm not even going to include the questions just the answers.

    My favourite is the suggestion that we cancel the visits by Obama and the Queen and use the money instead to squeeze more double deckers through Monkstown Farm.

    (Which major projects will proceed?)
    The National Transport Authority is responsible for the implementation of infrastructural projects and traffic management in the greater Dublin area. With regard to transport policy in the greater Dublin area, the major projects, metro north, DART underground and Luas BXD, the cross city line, were all included in Transport 21 as key elements of an integrated transport network for Dublin. All of the projects perform well in cost benefit analyses which have been published in redacted form on the NTA website and are the type of projects essential to the long-term economic well being of a capital city. However, all are costly and the new financial reality dictates that all three projects cannot proceed at the same time. The previous Government recognised this fact when, following the publication of the national recovery plan, it prioritised metro north and postponed all of the other projects beyond 2014.

    Furthermore metro north and DART underground were planned as public private partnership projects. Owing to Ireland’s sovereign debt situation there is uncertainty about the availability of private funds for major projects dependent on Exchequer funding. However, I emphasise that careful consideration will be given to the merits and affordability of each of these projects in the capital investment review. There will also be consideration of a fourth option, a DART extension to the airport and Swords. They will also be assessed and rated according to their contribution to economic and transport objectives, including employment potential. Notwithstanding funding difficulties, I will seek to ensure that at least one of these projects will proceed. I will examine all realistic options for delivery, including on an incremental, phased basis, if possible, with the involvement of private funding.
    ...

    I agree absolutely that these are important projects and I would love to see all of them going ahead so I could see my city, Dublin, looking like any other European city, with an integrated, modern transport system. These projects, however, all cost a lot of money and the reason metro north and DART underground were envisaged as PPPs is that even during the boom, no one thought it would be possible for the Exchequer to spend the billions of euro needed to pay for them. The two projects, if they are to proceed, can only do so as PPPs. If we did not have the funds for them during the boom out of taxpayers’ money, we definitely do not have the money now.

    It would be possible for BXD or a DART extension to go ahead with Exchequer funds because they are much less expensive than the other two projects but no decision has been made yet on which will be favoured by the Government. That is not a political answer; that is the truth. We must look at what is available in the capital envelope and decide which project can proceed.

    The real issue with PPPs is that they are a complex and expensive system for the State to borrow money. It is the case, however, that virtually no bank or financial institution in the world is currently willing to lend the State money. That is why the PPP projects for roads are facing difficulties. Three PPP road projects were supposed to go ahead this year and we are still hoping to conclude one or two of them but that looks difficult now. That means going back to the old fashioned system of funding infrastructure directly from the Exchequer but, as the Deputy is aware, the Exchequer does not have much money at present.

    ...
    (Alan Kelly - jnr minister for commuting)
    It is clear that traffic congestion has reduced as a result of the economic downturn but a number of pinch points remain, especially during peak periods. I will ask the National Transport Authority, which is responsible for traffic management in the greater Dublin area, to provide an update to the Deputy on traffic management activities and proposals for Dublin.

    As regards transport policy more generally, three major projects, metro north, DART underground and Luas BXD, the cross-city line, were all designed as key elements of an integrated transport network for Dublin. They would contribute to the easing of congestion by proving attractive alternative travel options to private car journeys. The new financial reality, however, is that all three projects cannot proceed at the same time. Indeed, the previous Government recognised this fact when, following the publication of the national recovery plan, it prioritised metro north and postponed the DART underground tunnel to beyond 2014.

    Furthermore, metro north and the DART underground tunnel were planned as public private partnership, PPP, projects and there is currently much uncertainty about the availability of private funds for major projects dependent on Exchequer funding due to the sovereign debt situation.

    The Government has announced a full review of capital investment, and full consideration will be given to the merits and affordability of each of these projects. The costs and benefits will be reviewed, as will their contribution to overall economic objectives and job creation. I hope that at least one major project will proceed but it is too early to speculate on which one. All realistic options for delivery of one project will be examined including on an incremental, phased basis.

    ...

    (Alan Kelly)
    [in answer to a question about the benefits of DART Underground] To be straight with the Deputy, of course it is a good idea. As a concept it really works and in theory there would be huge support for it. Given the financial reality, however, we must look at prioritisation. I agree there is a restriction on return for these lines because of the lack of interconnectivity and I hope we will get there at some stage in the future. Having said that, there has been a significant amount of investment in these lines to improve them and ensure their delivery is maximised. I will forward the full range of investment across all lines to the Deputy if she wishes.

    Some resignalling works in the DART underground or interconnector project that have capacity benefits themselves are being treated separately by the NTMA and are being assessed with a view to making progress on individual aspects. Provision could possibly be made for those works between now and 2014.

    (LV again)

    This question relates to a Government commitment to maintaining funding levels for CIE. Deputy Dooley will be aware that the fiscal legacy of the outgoing Fianna Fáil-led Government was to leave an expected deficit of €18 billion for this year. This fiscal legacy, coupled to the banking crisis, necessitated the intervention of the IMF and the EU late last year, a measure which compromised our economic sovereignty to a significant degree. In light of this legacy, while I would like to tell the House that I am committed to maintaining funding levels for CIE, to do so would involve a significant departure from reality.

    During the lifetime of the previous Government the total subvention paid to the three CIE subsidiaries was reduced from a high of €308 million in 2008 to €263 million in 2011. This represents a reduction of 15%. I recall Deputy Dooley voting in favour of all of those cuts. Unfortunately, there will be a requirement to reduce this subvention once again. That is the simple, hard reality and I have conveyed it to all interested parties I met in recent weeks. Despite this economic framework, the Government will - as it has committed to do in its programme for Government - with the reduced sums available for capital and current expenditure, favour public transport over road transport.

    The outgoing Fianna Fáil-led Government produced a four-year plan which envisaged further cuts in current expenditure in the Department’s Vote by €30 million in 2012, €30 million in 2013 and €40 million in 2014. This will undoubtedly affect the PSO subvention significantly, particularly as it makes up over 50% of the Department’s current budget. This is subject to reconsideration by the new Government under its comprehensive spending review. Unfortunately, however, working assumptions for economic growth and other budgetary variables have worsened rather than improved in the interim.

    The reduction of the subvention to date and into the future has necessitated and will necessitate the design and implementation of cost-effectiveness plans. The CIE group has implemented significant cost-management measures, including the implementation of the Deloitte cost and efficiency review of Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann, which included Dublin Bus’s network direct project. Irish Rail has also been successful in reducing its cost base to date.

    Additional information not given on the floor of the House.

    However, they will be required to go to the well of further cost savings again. A recovery in passenger numbers and further increases in fares could soften the impact of these cuts but it is difficult to see how reductions of this order will not impact on services if we continue with the business as usual approach to providing bus and rail services.

    In respect of capital investment, there will be a comprehensive review of capital spending with a view to developing a new national development plan for the period 2012 to 2017. This review, which will take place against a background of the new funding realities, will examine the costs and benefits of all capital projects against a range of economic, social and environmental criteria. Key considerations for transport will include the need to prioritise funding to protect investment made to date and to maintain high safety standards.

    ...

    The Deputy posed a number of questions and I will answer as many as possible. The programme for Government commits us to favouring public transport over road transport in the future. That is what we will do. We will be different from the previous Government in this regard. The latter, perhaps legitimately so, favoured road transport over public transport because it decided to give priority to building the inter-urban motorways. In fairness, the inter-urban motorway system is complete and we are of the view that the priorities are now different and that public transport should be favoured over road transport. However, what we intend to do in this regard will occur in the context of a shrinking budget. We are in the midst of an economic and financial crisis and we have a budget deficit of €18 billion.

    Budgets are going to shrink. Everyone knows that or at least I hope they do. Essentially, the roads budget and the public transport PSO budget will both shrink. However, the former will shrink at a faster rate than the latter. Unfortunately, that is the context within which we are operating. I accept that shrinking budgets will impact on services. I am sure that the previous Government was aware of this when it developed its plan to reduce the PSO by €100 million over three years. We can, however, mitigate against the effects of this by introducing cost savings. In fairness, the CIE companies have been very effective to date in delivering such savings without their having too adverse an impact on services. However, every year it is going to be a struggle to deliver the reduction in the PSO budget while maintaining services. As my Cabinet colleagues have stated on many previous occasions, it is about doing more for less.

    I have engaged in initial consultations with the CIE companies in respect of how they will proceed in this regard. They are commercial entities and, therefore, it is they - rather than me or the Minister of State, Deputy Kelly - who are best placed to deliver the required savings. My engagement with the companies in question is ongoing.

    We do not have any plans to privatise bus or train services. We are, of course, considering the contents of the McCarthy report, which proposes privatising some of the subsidiaries but not train lines or bus routes. It might be difficult to find buyers for these subsidiaries because they do not generate profits. We favour more diversity in the provision of services and that is already available in the context of the licensing of private bus services.

    ...

    The Deputy will be aware that I have announced a number of significant changes to corporate governance structure in CIE and the CIE companies. The term of the current executive chairman of CIE, Bus Éireann, Iarnród Éireann and Dublin Bus will expire at the end of June. When his term ends, the position of the executive chairman will be abolished and four non-executive chairpersons will be appointed to the boards of the companies. This will represent a considerable change to CIE’s corporate governance structure. Prior to their confirmation and formal appointment, each of the four individuals will appear before the relevant Oireachtas committee to set out their vision for the various State companies.

    In addition, there will be a number of ministerial appointments of ordinary members to the boards of the various CIE companies in the coming months. Each of these board members will, when appointed, receive a letter of mandate. This letter, among other matters, will advise board members that if they are requested by an Oireachtas committee to appear before it in their capacity as board members, they will be expected to attend. This is in addition to the Government’s commitment to introduce legislation and hold a referendum to allow Oireachtas committees to carry out investigations and compel witnesses to attend. It is intended that the referendum to which I refer will be held later in the year.

    I am aware that concerns have been expressed with regard to matter arising from the Baker Tilly report. However, I am advised that the Secretary General of my Department indicated to the Comptroller and Auditor General in September 2010 that detailed replies were received from CIE in January and March 2010 and that these outlined the steps taken in strengthening procurement policy and practice, the extent of implement of the recommendations and the board’s satisfaction with the adequacy of the controls in place. As such, and in consultation with my colleagues, I will give careful consideration to the Deputy’s proposal. I will report back to the House in this regard in due course. I will also be keen to take on board the views of the incoming transport committee on this matter.

    The issue of expenses of CIE Tours executives is a matter for CIE and I have asked the company to contact the Deputy directly about it. I would expect any expense claims to be reasonable and vouched or verified. I will take dim view of any evidence to contrary but I recognise the fact that executives of CIE Tours are obliged to travel overseas a great deal in order to secure business. CIE Tours does not benefit from a subvention from the State and it generates cash for CIE, which, in turn, reduces the need for Exchequer contributions.

    The funding of PSO services is governed by contracts between the CIE companies and the National Transport Authority, NTA. The NTA monitors the contracted performance of the PSO operators on a quarterly basis and reports are published on its website. The NTA recently imposed even more demanding performance targets on Iarnród Éireann, Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus. These companies stand to lose up to 10% of their PSO if they do not meet these targets.

    ...
    [in reply to a question from Shane Ross about CIE corruption]
    It is important to recognise the background to the Baker Tilly Ryan Glennon report. I have not read the entire report, but it is on my reading list for next week when I will read it from start to finish. That is why I am not ruling out the possibility of appointing an inspector.

    The fraud was detected by CIE which initiated the report. However, the company did not inform the Minister, as it should have done. It did not inform the Minister about the existence of the report, but it did detect the fraud and act on it. Of the 156 recommendations made in the report, 146 have been implemented by CIE. The remaining ten have not been implemented for good reasons.

    I will be expecting the new chairman to do exactly what Deputy Ross suggests. When he or she is appointed, part of his or her instructions from the Government will be to look at how procurement occurs in CIE, how the company spends its money and ensure the practices followed in the past are not still continuing. That will be the job of the chairman rather than the Minister or the Government.

    The Deputy alleges the practices deteced in the Baker Tilly report are still widespread in CIE. I have no evidence that that is the case. If there is such evidence, I want to see it. It is not reasonable to say that if fraud was detected by the company in 2005 and 2006 and acted upon, it must still be continuing. I do not accept that view. There must be some evidence to back it up. We cannot assume that because there was fraud five years ago, which was detected by the company, there must automatically be fraud now. I do not accept that automaticity.

    ...

    This is an easy one. The Deputy asks if there are plans to remove the mandatory use requirement for cycle lanes. The removal of the requirement to use cycle lanes where provided is one of the undertakings in the national cycle policy framework. Subject to finalising some safety aspects of the proposal, I hope to make the necessary amending regulations later in the year.

    Where a cycle lane is provided, cyclists are required to use it, even if it is damaged or in a bad condition or inappropriate to use it. The Government agrees that the regulation should be changed and it will be.
    ...
    The Minister of State, Deputy Alan Kelly, and I have had detailed discussions with the sustainable transport section in the Department. Subject to confirmation of the delegation order, most of these matters will fall into the brief of the Minister of State. He or I will meet representatives of the Dublin Cycling Campaign.

    I have had a good look at the national cycle policy framework. It is a good framework, but what is missing is an implementation plan and budget. We must look at it closely, see which parts can be implemented and how much it will cost to do so. Like everything, it will be subject to cost constraints. There is still some money available in the sustainable transport budget. This is an area in which much can be delivered for a relatively small amount of money. I am encouraged to see that the number cycling into Dublin is increasing all the time, while the number of cars is going down. We must continue to encourage and support this trend.
    ...
    (Alan Kelly)
    The Deloitte report on the cost and efficiency of Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann identified significant scope for the redesign and more efficient operation of the Dublin Bus network to provide a more attractive service for existing and potential users. The redesign would achieve more frequent, streamlined and reliable services. Following publication of the report, Dublin Bus undertook an extensive review of its bus network and announced plans for the reorganisation of routes and timetables. During the review it consulted key stakeholders, customers and local representatives. The redesigned routings are being introduced on a phased basis to allow for a manageable and orderly process to take place and are expected to be completed by the middle of this year.

    In 2011 Dublin Bus will receive an estimated €72.5 million in Exchequer subvention through the National Transport Authority. In the current difficult economic environment I intend to encourage efficiencies and rationalisation in Dublin Bus. I want the authority and the other agencies to work together to encourage more people out of their cars by improving their experience of public transport through greater efficiencies such as Network Direct and other improvements such as real-time passenger information and integrated ticketing. Notwithstanding the enhanced service provided by Dublin Bus as a result of Network Direct, the company must implement further cost-saving measures to reduce the level of operating losses which amounted to approximately €13 million in 2009. Continuous efficiency in the provision of public service obligation services will be my priority in the current fiscal environment, as increased Exchequer support is not realistic at this time.
    ...
    As a former tourism executive, I am aware of the huge merit of such visits and their potential for the country. As far as the Government is concerned, the review that has been carried out is working. The main features of the redesigned network are an increase in the number of high frequency routes, more direct alignment of routes to and from key areas of work and leisure, greater use of quality bus corridors, more even headways between departures, fewer route variations, adjustments to make the network easier to understand, an increase in cross-city services and improved connections with rail and Luas transport modes.

    Huge progress has been made with Dublin Bus which is very efficient in what it does. I do not want to be dumbing-down some of that work. I compliment those who are working together to create these efficiencies in a difficult climate while avoiding industrial relations disputes. I compliment Dublin Bus on the manner in which it has introduced a new route network map. The provision for passengers of real-time timetable information is part of the Government’s plan to try to push more people towards public transport, particularly the bus network. All of this should help Dublin Bus to safeguard its future. I suggest the results being achieved by Network Direct as part of this have been encouraging. My office has received numerous compliments about some of the services being delivered and the efficiencies taking place.
    ...
    To be fair, it is impossible to find more funding in this environment. I have some sympathy for the argument that the subvention given to Dublin Bus is low by comparison to that given to similar operators in other countries. It is a fair point and one I have made on previous occasions. The economic environment in which we find ourselves is very unfortunate. If we take money from another area, we will be left in an impossible position. If Deputies Dessie Ellis and Richard Boyd Barrett feel passionately about specific hardship issues, I will be happy to take on board anything they might have to say inside or outside this House in that regard. I will help them to make the case to the relevant authorities if it is realistic to do so. It is up to them to make the case in the first instance.
    ...
    The review will not be stopped. It is not fair to describe its purpose as being to secure cutbacks. Its purpose is to obtain as much as possible for what we have. I have made an offer on specific hardship cases which need to be addressed and this will be done. We must be realistic, however.

    While routes and other issues raised by the Deputy are matters for Dublin Bus, in a number of cases with which I am familiar routes have been extended and amalgamated rather than being cut. I do not accept the loss of services is at the level described by Deputy Boyd Barrett.
    ...
    I understand and respect the reason this issue raises passions in local communities. We have encouraged as much consultation as possible. While I am open to correction, I understand demographic profiling has been done. I will ensure a full answer is provided to the Deputy’s questions in this regard.

    When I meet the relevant authorities I will emphasise again the need for skeleton services, particularly to serve areas on the outskirts of Dublin to enable people to commute in the mornings and evenings. The Deputy makes a good point in that regard.

    Following the completion of the review, the success or otherwise of changes introduced by the National Transport Authority will be reviewed within six months. A safety valve is, therefore, available and will be used.
    ...
    Following the establishment of the National Transport Authority in December 2009, responsibility for the delivery of an integrated transport system, including funding for quality bus corridors in the greater Dublin area, is a matter for the National Transport Authority. I have, therefore, asked the National Transport Authority to send the relevant information to the Deputy. I ask him to advise my private office if he does not receive a reply within ten working days.

    As regards the rest of the country, my Department is funding an ongoing programme of bus priority measures - green routes - and park and ride facilities in the four regional cities of Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford. An amount of €5.5 million has been provided in 2011 to the four cities in question.

    Public transport feasibility studies have been commissioned by the local authorities in the four regional cities and these were funded by my Department. The purpose of the studies is to examine the most appropriate and feasible public transport systems for the cities in question. The completed studies include recommendations in relation to bus priority measures. Some of the recommendations of the feasibility studies are already being funded under the regional cities bus priority and park and ride programme. Since 2006 the four cities concerned have received funding totalling €55 million under the programme.

    The National Transport Authority is examining the recommendations of the completed studies as requested by my Department in consultation, as necessary, with other appropriate bodies, with a view to assessing and prioritising future public transport options for the four regional cities, having regard to the current difficult budgetary position.
    ...
    I presume the Deputy’s concerns relate to the greater Dublin area. The National Transport Authority is examining this matter, although it is not the subject of a review. I could request that such a review be carried out to examine matters such as the times at which the bus corridors can be used by vehicles other than buses, the success rate of each bus corridor measured against key deliverables and so forth. I will communicate further with the Deputy on the matter.
    ...
    Perhaps the right way forward is for me to arrange for the Deputy to meet the NRA to convey his views directly. The provision of service stations is an objective of the NRA but they must be considered on a case-by-case basis. It is appropriate to locate them in some places but not in others and we do not want to have too many spread out on a single road. We often find that while there is great support for service stations in some areas, people in other areas may be very much against them because they argue they take commerce out of individual towns. There is also an issue whereby private operators want to provide their own service area where one is not provided by the NRA, and they would often have expectations that the NRA will rebuild the road or build over-bridges and so on to facilitate their businesses, which is not realistic in most cases.

    This is the reason the matter is left to the NRA. It is not appropriate for a Minister to make decisions on individual cases as to where service areas should be located. The right approach might be for me to organise a direct engagement with the Deputy and the NRA on the matter.
    ...
    Under the current policy, the NRA has identified optimum locations for 12 service areas at approximate intervals of 50 km to 60 km and legislation was amended in 2007 to allow it to do that. Generally, service areas are designed to offer a full range of services, including convenience retail services as well as extensive car, coach and HGV parking and Garda enforcement areas. In addition, the NRA provides for rest areas. While they are not a substitute for service areas, there are a number of parking areas along the major inter-urban routes where vehicles can be parked safely to allow drivers to take breaks or rest periods. In the context of a motorway, an interval of 50 km to 60 km should be adequate.

    With regard to projects that have already begun, three opened for business in 2010 - two on the M1 and one on the M4 - and the authority has planning approval for four other stations at Athlone on the M6, Cashel on the M8, Kilcullen on the M9 and Gorey on the M11, and three other service areas are being tendered at present for Athlone, Kilcullen and Gorey.
    ...
    (LV answering questions on public transport in Cork)
    A public transport feasibility study was commissioned by Cork City Council in 2008 for the Cork Metropolitan Area which was funded by my Department. The study known as CATS (Cork Area Transit System) sets out a public transport strategy to meet the public transport travel needs of the region up to 2020 and beyond. Amongst the key recommendations of the Study are:


    the development of a west to east rapid transit corridor from Ballincollig to Mahon via the city centre and Docklands, with Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) rather than Light Rail Transit (LRT) being the preferred option;

    the phased implementation of an enhanced and reconfigured bus network; and

    the implementation of a city centre Traffic Management Plan to improve accessibility to the city centre and the environment for public transport vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists.
    The National Transport Authority (NTA) is currently examining the recommendations of the Study, as requested by my Department, in consultation as necessary with other appropriate bodies with a view to assessing and prioritising future public transport options for the Cork region, having regard to the current difficult budgetary position.

    Some of the CATS Study’s recommendations are already being funded under the Regional Cities Bus Priority and Park & Ride Programme, administered by the NTA, for which an overall allocation of €5.5 million has been provided in 2011 to the four regional cities of Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford. The Cork region has received €30.15 million under this programme since 2006. Cork City Council has been allocated €1.2 million in 2011, comprising €900,000 for the Ballincollig Green Route and €300,000 for the Carrigrohane Park & Ride facility.


Comments

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 357 ✭✭ jacko1


    at last we seem to have two young clever (and realistic) guys in charge of public transport


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 20,995 Mod ✭✭✭✭ bk


    jacko1 wrote: »
    at last we seem to have two young clever (and realistic) guys in charge of public transport

    It is just a pity that they don't have any money to do anything.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 357 ✭✭ jacko1


    bk wrote: »
    It is just a pity that they don't have any money to do anything.

    agreed - dont think we'll be seeing any big ticket items but perhaps we'll get better value for money and smarter use of technology


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,549 ✭✭✭✭ Judgement Day


    jacko1 wrote: »
    at last we seem to have two young clever (and realistic) guys in charge of public transport

    And there was me thinking it was just more of the same old guff. :rolleyes:


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,361 mgmt


    jacko1 wrote: »
    at last we seem to have two young clever (and realistic) guys in charge of public transport

    Yeah, the juniour minister was on the Last Word on Today FM today, and he gave a very strong performance. I'm guessing he's from Labour whom i'd never vote for.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,032 DWCommuter


    And there was me thinking it was just more of the same old guff. :rolleyes:

    It may well be more of the same old guff, but at least this time its economically justified. There is no money to spend on MN and DU and the PPP model is struggling as as result of decisions made by the previous Government. This debate cannot be simplified to a degree of blaming the current Government. It is a combination of political attitude and Government decisions between 1997 and 2009 involving far more than just transport policy.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 25,234 ✭✭✭✭ Sponge Bob


    Juunior, Alan Kelly, has background in IT so he has been given the Integrated Ticketing gig.....you know .....the one where the Dublin Software does not work !!!


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 724 ✭✭✭ dynamick




  • Registered Users Posts: 947 ✭✭✭ xper


    jacko1 wrote: »
    at last we seem to have two young clever (and realistic) guys in charge of public transport
    Hmm, I dunno. Reading all that, I did get a bit of a sense that, in amongst all the politician-speak, there does appear to be some actual thinking and genuine interest on the part of ministers in their brief. But then, its easy for them to say, 'yeah, there are some great ideas here for the future and we'll listen to all interested parties but, shucks, as you all know, we just can't afford them right now'. It makes them sound progressive while getting them off the hook of actually implementing anything.

    That may be just cynicism. After all, they can't yet point to achievements that may occur in the future so one should supposedly give some benefit of the doubt. But then you look at their attitudes to current projects and it does indeed sound liek the same old guff. Take Alan Kelly's repeated, everythings-great rebuttals of any criticism of Dublin Bus's Network Direct project. That's all going fine, is it, Alan? And who told you that? Dublin Bus? Deputy Barrett may be a bit more clued in on this topic.



    Oh, and the airport DART extension plan rises from the dead. I thought that scheme had been shot in the head and the body thrown off the Malahide viaduct years ago. It is Easter, I suppose.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,468 popebenny16


    only three things stood out for me (apart from a general degree of direct answers as opposed to reading out press statements which the manefest failures Dempsey and Cullen did every time in a General Ali tribute act)

    1. Dash2 is now dashing slowly to 2014.
    2. There was a mention of a DART extension - first fishing about for an airport spur as opposed to Metro North?
    3. The last guys always knew there was no money to do what they were promising to do.

    Bugger all apart from that.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 9,971 ✭✭✭ DaCor


    Under the current policy, the NRA has identified optimum locations for 12 service areas at approximate intervals of 50 km to 60 km and legislation was amended in 2007 to allow it to do that. Generally, service areas are designed to offer a full range of services, including convenience retail services as well as extensive car, coach and HGV parking and Garda enforcement areas. In addition, the NRA provides for rest areas. While they are not a substitute for service areas, there are a number of parking areas along the major inter-urban routes where vehicles can be parked safely to allow drivers to take breaks or rest periods. In the context of a motorway, an interval of 50 km to 60 km should be adequate.

    wtf, they are nowhere near safe and are a leftover from when the motorways were originally designated as HQDC. They shouldn't be on the motorway network at all


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,032 DWCommuter


    These projects, however, all cost a lot of money and the reason metro north and DART underground were envisaged as PPPs is that even during the boom, no one thought it would be possible for the Exchequer to spend the billions of euro needed to pay for them.

    It was and it could have been. Personally I'm in no doubt about this. There was billions spent on tax cuts, pay increases, additional PS staff, consultants, junkets etc etc. No one thought it was possible because the mindset of Irish politics isn't capable of doing it. The PPP option was in line with the policy of borrow borrow borrow for everything as we can afford to pay it back via the huge tax take and annual surplus. Nice thinking if your economy is booming on the back of solid industries, massive exports and a variety of successful revenue generating enterprises. But as many knew then and all know now, it was built on construction that in turn was fueled by borrowed money. A flimsy deck of cards that collapsed.

    Here's a question. Would any of you have foregone the swinging tax cuts of the McCreavey years, if it meant that MN or DU were built from exchequer funds?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,549 ✭✭✭✭ Judgement Day


    As you say Derek the mindset was can't, shan't and won't and still is in Irish politics and the establishment - nothing but the faces have changed. I had thoughts of writing to certain government politicians after the election with some ideas but I really can't be arsed anymore. Rugby and drink - it's the only answer. :D


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,032 DWCommuter


    Rugby and drink - it's the only answer. :D

    And women!:D


  • Registered Users Posts: 426 ✭✭ Jack Noble


    DWCommuter wrote: »
    Here's a question. Would any of you have foregone the swinging tax cuts of the McCreavey years, if it meant that MN or DU were built from exchequer funds?

    Before 2002, no, because tax was too high and those tax cuts helped stimulate the growing domestic economy to complement the booming export sector.

    After 2002, absolutely, because what was done 2002 to 2007 was vote-buying, pure and simple.

    Those tax cuts and the parallel current spending splurge are as much to blame for the current mess we are in as the property boom-bust and banking disaster.

    A wise and prudent govt would have reined in current spending, held off on tax cuts, invested in critical infrastructure and put some money aside for a rainy day.

    But Fianna Fail under Bertie Ahern didn't do wise and prudent - instead they gave everyone in every sector of society exactly what they wanted.

    We are where we are...


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,032 DWCommuter


    Jack Noble wrote: »
    Before 2002, no, because tax was too high and those tax cuts helped stimulate the growing domestic economy to complement the booming export sector.

    After 2002, absolutely, because what was done 2002 to 2007 was vote-buying, pure and simple.

    Those tax cuts and the parallel current spending splurge are as much to blame for the current mess we are in as the property boom-bust and banking disaster.

    A wise and prudent govt would have reined in current spending, held off on tax cuts, invested in critical infrastructure and put some money aside for a rainy day.

    But Fianna Fail under Bertie Ahern didn't do wise and prudent - instead they gave everyone in every sector of society exactly what they wanted.

    We are where we are...

    So you get my point.


  • Registered Users Posts: 426 ✭✭ Jack Noble


    DWCommuter wrote: »
    So you get my point.

    Indeed I do.

    I have been saying it for years now - but very few were/are prepared to listen. Everyone wants their goodies but wants someone else to pay for it all.

    I always worried that the tax cuts/current spending rises would cause problems if things hit a rocky patch - but I never saw the scale of the banking disaster or the fact that the clowns in charge would keep making it worse and then the IMF/EU would have to come to save us from ourselves.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,831 ✭✭✭ markpb


    Sponge Bob wrote: »
    Juunior, Alan Kelly, has background in IT so he has been given the Integrated Ticketing gig.....you know .....the one where the Dublin Software does not work !!!

    What on earth are you talking about?


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,468 popebenny16


    only three things stood out for me (apart from a general degree of direct answers as opposed to reading out press statements which the manefest failures Dempsey and Cullen did every time in a General Ali tribute act)

    1. Dash2 is now dashing slowly to 2014.
    2. There was a mention of a DART extension - first fishing about for an airport spur as opposed to Metro North?
    3. The last guys always knew there was no money to do what they were promising to do.

    Bugger all apart from that.

    just quoting myself there in light of todays irish independant article on DART to the Airport. Its the small things Ministers say that you have to look out for.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 7,221 BrianD


    Jack Noble wrote: »
    Indeed I do.

    I have been saying it for years now - but very few were/are prepared to listen. Everyone wants their goodies but wants someone else to pay for it all.

    Not only that, instant gratification was required so anything that gave short term gain was favoured over something like a Metro North or DART Underground that would take longer than 5 years to build.


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