RPA chief to keep Metro North 'alive'
The incoming chairman of the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA) has said he would "love to" go ahead with the building of Metro North.
Cormac O'Rourke, an engineer with international experience of financing of roads, tunnels and railways, said he hoped "to keep the planning permission for Metro North alive, keep it fresh" so that when the finance is available the organisation might "pull down the planning permission" and go straight to construction.
The multi-billion euro rail link between the city centre and Swords via the airport was put on hold by the Government following the economic crisis.
Mr O'Rourke, who is also chairman designate of the National Roads Authority (NRA) and is overseeing the merging of both organisations, said he was optimistic by nature and believed a time would come when Government finances would improve and money for the route could become available.
Addressing the Oireachtas Committee on Transport this morning, Mr O'Rourke revealed the RPA board met yesterday morning to consider the problem of anti-social behaviour on the Luas Red Line.
Responding to Sean Kenny TD, who raised the issue of robberies, particularly of tourists, Mr O'Rourke said the organisation was working with the Garda and mobile patrols which have a security staff role. He said the RPA had considerable experience of building Luas extensions and would be keeping disruption to a minimum during the building of the Broombridge extension.
Mr O'Rourke also told the committee the NRA was facing a shortfall of €100 million in its roads maintenance budget this year. While this was not a significant problem, he said letting the situation continue for other years could result in a waste in much of the investment of recent years.
Mr O'Rourke said there had been significant improvements in the public private arrangements in recent days - part of an improving outlook with regard to raising international finance for Ireland - and he said a deal on building the bundled package of the Arklow Rathnew motorway and Newlands Cross interchange was very close. He said this bundled project, along with the Gort to Tuam motorway, was not the roads authority's highest construction priority.