Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Making the case for Dublin Metro

In the Irish Times on 28th August, Frank McDonald reported that leading public transport guru Prof. Austin Smyth had suggested that the economic case for the two Dublin Metro lines, proposed under Transport 21, remained unproven. This, in turn, led to an article by Minister Martin Cullen rebutting this suggestion, but offering no clarification on the economic justification, claiming commercial sensitivity as the justification.

A letter from Prof. Smyth in today’s Irish Times is the latest in what, hopefully, may prove to be an interesting debate and includes the following paragraph:
“Indeed, the Minister's confidence in the economic case for that project makes it even more surprising that he has not taken the public into his confidence by publishing the results of the economic appraisal of the scheme. Commercial sensitivity, even if understandable in the case of financial appraisal, is not an argument for withholding the economic appraisal. These appraisals are not the same.”

The Minister’s refusal to divulge any financial data on the Metro business case suggests that the Government’s key financial document may well have been mislaid. This would be a real tragedy as the other side of that envelope is strongly rumoured to contain the detailed original blueprint for the McCreevy/Parlon decentralisation scheme.

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