At a press conference this afternoon The Government has announced a €27b spending plan for capital projects from 2016 to 2021 which includes a Dublin City to Airport link to be delivered within the next 10 years.
It is estimated that the investment could see the creation of about 45,000 construction jobs, included in the plan will be a number of road projects, school building projects and confirmed this afternoon the long awaited Metro North rail line.
Other key areas of the Capital Plan are to include education, health, housing and flood protection.
At the launch Tánaiste Joan Burton said the Connolly to Maynooth line will be upgraded to full DART service; the Phoenix Park Tunnel will be upgraded and opened to commuter trains in 2016 and the Cross City Luas to Broombridge in Cabra will come on stream in 2017.
Alan Kelly Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government along with Ministers of State, Paudie Coffey & Ann Phelan, have welcomed the publication of the Government’s capital plan out to 2021.
The plan, which will see continued aggressive investment in social housing, rural development and water infrastructure improvements and will create or sustain an estimated 80,000* jobs. The €4billion package (Capital and current) already announced for social housing last year will see a continued level of investment out to 2021, which will add further to the 35,000 social housing units already committed to through buying, building and leasing under the Social Housing Strategy 2020. The construction of over 3,000 social housing units has already commenced under the strategy and the additional funding will be targeted at further refurbishments of vacant social housing units.
Investment in water infrastructure is vital for environmental, economic and public health reasons with capital investment coming to a total of €4billion over the period. Unlike previous programmes where this funding was divided between 34 local authorities, it will be managed by a single water company and provide a much more efficient programme of investment.
The rural development programme, which funds both economic and social programmes in rural areas will see an additional €105 million for rural development programmes in 2019 and 2020. This is the funding period towards the end of the Leader programme when projects are being completed and spend is highest. A further €30 million for village renewal will also be put in place to support economic activity in rural communities.
There will also be further investment in waste management programmes, water quality, as well as fire and emergency services.
Minister Alan Kelly said, “This capital investment programme will house up to 35,000 families, provide safe clean drinking water for many and create or sustain an estimated 80,000 jobs out to 2021,”
“Housing is the single biggest priority. Not only do we have to tackle the challenges of a failed housing market for many years and homelessness, we have to give people on low incomes a leg-up on the housing market and that is what this plan will achieve over the period.
“Rural Development is also a key priority and ensuring that the recovery is felt around the country. The continued priority of the rural development programme and greater linkage with local authorities will ensure that will happen,”
Minister of State with responsibility for Housing, Paudie Coffey T.D., also welcomed the Capital Plan. The Minister said, “I welcome the Government’s Capital Plan and in particular I welcome the clear commitment to provide the necessary funding to deliver on the Government’s Social Housing Strategy which was launched last November. In total some €2.9bn is being provided in capital funding under the Capital Plan to meet our housing needs. The Government’s Social Housing Strategy runs to 2020 and today’s Capital Plan commits capital funding out to 2021 to ensure that our housing needs continue to be met into the future.”
Finally, Minster of State for Rural Economic Development Ann Phelan T.D. welcomed the inclusion in the Capital Plan of a new €30m investment in rural towns and villages. The Minister said, “This new scheme, details of which were announced last week, will support the revitalisation of rural towns and villages with the aim of improving the living and working environment in rural communities and enhancing their potential to support increased economic activity into the future. The inclusion of this €30m programme in the Capital Plan shows serious commitment by the Government to supporting our rural communities in a proactive way, ensuring that they are not left behind as the economy recovers and that they remain attractive places in which to live and work.
*Estimate based on 10 jobs per million calculation for capital investment