Let’s not dig ourselves into a hole on the Dublin Metro plan

Cliff Taylor: We need solid evidence before starting this €4bn tunnel

March 24th, 2018: Metro North is to be announced as part of the Government's Ireland 2040 infrastructure plan. The rail line was also announced by governments in 2005 and 2015.

I’ve been Metrosceptical for a long time. It’s no surprise that the Metro plan, cancelled during the economic crisis, is back on the agenda again. And I’m willing to be persuaded it is the right thing to do, in some shape anyway. But it is likely to cost up to €4 billion and if we are going to spend that amount of money on one project, we need to be as sure as we can be that it is going to work.

The first time around, when the then Metro North plan was given the go-ahead in 2005, there was criticism of the lack of public information of the estimated costs and benefits. One study that was published by the Rail Procurement Agency in 2010 showed estimated benefits of about 1.5 times cost – less than you would want given the inevitable nature of these things to overrun. Only when assumed – and debatable –“wider economic benefits” were counted in, did the benefits rise to twice the level of costs.

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