Metro North documents to be lodged


THOUSANDS OF Dubliners are expected to seek copies of the planning application for Metro North when it is lodged with An Bord Pleanála on Wednesday.

The planning application – officially an application for a Railway Order – is to be accompanied by an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) which contains details of disturbance caused by the construction of the 18km, partly underground, rail line linking Swords and Dublin airport with St Stephen’s Green.

The EIS will look at disturbance to traffic and trade as well as to hospitals, community organisations, schools and parks.

The application and the EIS will be available at An Bord Pleanála’s headquarters in Marlborough Street as well as at Fingal County Council offices in Swords, Dublin’s Civic Offices on Wood Quay, Ballymun Regeneration on Ballymun Road and from the Railway Procurement Agency at Parkgate Street.

An Bord Pleanála will accept submissions on the project until October 29th and is expected to then hold an oral hearing which may take several weeks. A decision on the application is expected by next autumn.

The Railway Procurement Agency has refused to say how much the five-year construction project is set to cost, citing commercial sensitivities as the tendering process is under way.

But documents obtained from the Department of Transport set the cost of Metro North at €4.58 billion in 2004 prices.

Transport sources said this was an estimate of the full cost of the construction and operation of the Public Private Partnership (PPP)over the 35 years of the partnership’s life-span.

The construction element alone has been put at about €2.5 billion at 2007 prices. The remaining costs cover operation and maintenance and the refurbishment of the system at the end of the 35 years before its handover to the State. It also covers significant bank and consultancy fees for the PPP. Under typical PPPs in the National Roads Programme, the State would put up 65 percent of the construction costs, which would give the Government a bill of some €1.5 billion to be paid over five years. The remainder would be in agreed scheduled payments to the private sector partner over the lifetime of the partnership.

Fares collected from passengers – expected to number 34 million in the first year of operation – would go towards repayments to the private sector partner, but the fares alone are not expected to cover the full annual payment.

Metro North was originally scheduled for completion by 2012, but is now more likely to be about 2014 at the earliest.