EIB gives €150m backing for LUAS connection

Business, Economy | Tue 4 Mar | Author – Business & Finance
Luas at Spencer Dock

The European Investment Bank has agreed to provide €150m to support construction of a new connection between the Red and Green lines on Dublin’s light rail tram system, LUAS.

The new engagement by the EU’s long-term lending institution will support construction of a new 5.6km link, 13 additional stations, a new depot and acquisition of 10 new trams.

The latest support for transport infrastructure in Ireland was formally agreed in Dublin today by Leo Varadkar TD, Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, and Jonathan Taylor, European Investment Bank vice president for Ireland. The signature was witnessed by Werner Hoyer, president of the EIB, Brendan Howlin, Minister of Public Expenditure & Reform, and Minister of State for Commuter & Public Transport, Alan Kelly.

Minister Varadkar said: “The Board of the EIB has earlier endorsed Luas Cross City and today we have finalised a low interest loan from the Bank to help us build the project. This represents significant savings over the next couple of years. Luas Cross City really transforms rail transport in the Greater Dublin area and makes all sorts of new journeys possible, like Maynooth to Dundrum or Sandyford to the O2. It will add up to ten million journeys a year, take around three million car journeys off the road, create 60 new jobs when up and running and support 800 jobs during construction.”

Jonathan Taylor, EIB vice president said: “An effective public transport network is essential for city life and the EIB is committed to supporting long-term investment in sustainable transport in Dublin that will reduce congestion and pollution. We are pleased to support the crucial LUAS light rail tram link and acquisition of new trams to improve public transport capacity in the Irish capital. The new LUAS connection will make a signification contribution to construction jobs in Ireland and demonstrates our firm commitment to supporting long-term investment in the country.”

With a total project budget of €368m, the new LUAS link will connect the existing Green Line terminus at St Stephen’s Green to Broombridge Station and provide tram services roughly every three minutes during the peak period. A total of 13 new stations, with 53m long platforms to allow for possible use of longer trams on the line in the future, will be built on the new connection. Trams currently in use on the line, as well as the 10 new trams to be added, will provide services on the link.

Construction of the new link is underway and the first tram services on the new line will start at the end of 2017.

Minister Howlin said: “The EIB has long been an investor in Ireland’s PPP programme and, in more recent times, has also provided funding for our traditional Exchequer-funded capital programme. Over the last two years the Bank has supported both our Exchequer Schools Programme and the Water Services Investment Programme. The loan funding agreed today for the LUAS Cross City project demonstrates yet again the EIB’s commitment to supporting investment in Irish infrastructure. We look forward to continued positive engagement with the EIB into the future.”

The EIB has recently increased engagement to support transport investment, as well as projects in other sectors across Ireland. Last year, the EIB increased its engagement in Ireland by 35% and provided a total of EUR 680m for seven new projects including support for new roads, schools, university investment, energy and telecommunications.

The borrower for the EIB loan is the National Treasury Management Agency, which is responsible for borrowing on behalf of the Irish Government. The National Transport Authority and Railway Procurement Agency are responsible for project implementation. The National Development Finance Agency is advising on certain aspects of the new LUAS link.