Details of the 2009 budget were announced today, key points relating to the budget for the Department of Transport for the coming year are below.
As usual the devil is in the details, or in the lack of details. It is safe to assume that any Transport21 projects not mentioned below are dead, and any that are mentioned are by no means assured further funding. For instance planning works for the DART Interconnector means that not a sod of turf will be turned for that project in the coming year, similarly for Metro North.
Many of the transport items mentioned are not really spending, new or otherwise. for example, Luas extensions being paid for by the private sector are mentioned for some reason.
We await with interest the improved bus priority measures in Dublin and the regional cities, no doubt Noel will issue a flurry of press releases in the coming days.
Gross Expenditure for the Department of Transport in 2009 is €3,613 million, a decrease of €160 million (€6 million Current and €154 million Capital) relative to the 2008 forecast outturn. The key policy measures and adjustments associated with these resources in 2009 and later years are as follows:-
capital expenditure of over €900 million is allocated to fund public transport infrastructure. This is about €70 million less than the amount made available in 2008, but it is sufficient for progress on a wide range of projects, including:
Luas extensions to Cherrywood, Docklands and Citywest
improved bus priority measures in Dublin and the regional cities
the completion of the Midleton rail line and phase 1 of the Western Rail Corridor from Ennis to Athenry
the construction of the Kildare Route project and phase 1 of the Navan rail line
the continuation of Iarnród Éireann’s railway safety programme
the start of the Dublin city centre rail re-signalling programme
continued roll-out of new railcars on the intercity routes
planning and enabling works on Metro North, and
planning works for the DART Interconnector;
in addition, €338 million of current expenditure is provided for the operation of public transport services throughout the country. This is €6 million more than the 2008 provision.
capital expenditure of over €1.4 billion is being made available to the National Roads Authority. This allocation is €157 million less than in 2008, and while progress on some projects will necessarily have to slow down, key national routes will be delivered as planned, specifically:
the major inter urban roads connecting Dublin with the regional cities of Waterford, Galway, Limerick and Cork by end-2010;
the M50 upgrade;
there will also be progress on other key national routes, including the Atlantic Road Corridor;
over €600 million is being made available to local authorities throughout the country for the upgrade and maintenance of regional and local roads;
capital expenditure of €10 million is provided for additional carbon reduction measures to target climate change initiatives in the transport sector;
as a start to the Government’s commitment to part-fund a dual carriageway road within Northern Ireland transforming access to the North West of the island, a capital provision of €13.5 million is being made available in 2009 towards the planning works for this project;
provision for Regional Airports is reduced by €13 million to €11 million in 2009. Annual provision for capital investment in the regional airports is decided according to estimates of likely drawdowns in the year for specific projects. This can vary from year to year;
overall, the reduced capital allocation for transport will require some rescheduling of projects. Such decisions will be taken by the Department of Transport and its agencies on a project-by-project basis, taking account of their assessment of priorities within the revised expenditure envelope;
the impact of the reduced current allocation is being spread across a number of areas and principally involves reduced expenditure on road maintenance.
The detailed 2009 Estimate for this Department is set out at page G.67.