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PAC warns Metrolink cost must not exceed €9.5 billion

The committee is concerned at the wide range of cost estimates and lengthy timeline.

THE PUBLIC ACCOUNTS Committee has called on State agencies involved in the Metrolink project to ensure the cost does not surpass €9.5 billion.

The committee has issued a report responding to financial statements published by the National Transport Authority and Transport Infrastructure Ireland, saying it is concerned at the wide range of cost estimates for the project.

The Department of Transport estimated in April 2023 that the most likely cost for the construction of the system was €9.5 billion, with credible capital costs ranging from €7.16 billion to €12.25 billion, but some estimates allowed for a cost as high as €21.5 billion, according to the committee.

The PAC said it is concerned by the range of estimates and emphasised the cost should not exceed €9.5 billion, particularly in the context of other public infrastructure projects such as the National Children’s Hospital, which is “projected to be completed significantly over budget”.

The committee is also disappointed by the length of time that has passed since the inception of the project without significant progress.

In a statement, PAC chair Brian Stanley said that committee is “frustrated at how long it has taken from the initial proposal for a metro system in Dublin, to the most recent date for completion”.

“According to that timeline, Metrolink will be delivered 23 years after planning permission was granted to the original Metro North project and 34 years after it was first proposed in Platform for Change,” he said.

“It is imperative for the final cost, amongst other reasons, that Metrolink is completed on time, as it has been estimated that each year of delay would add additional costs of between €100 million and €300 million, in addition to delaying the economic and social benefits associated with Metrolink.”

Cabinet approved a refreshed plan for the Metrolink in July 2022, with a planning application submitted to An Bord Pleanála in September.

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