M50 upgrade welcome but comes at massive cost to the taxpayer

2nd September, 2010

€1 billion upgrade comes in at a staggering €31.2 million per km

Welcoming the official opening of the final upgrade of the M50 today (Wednesday), Fine Gael Seanad Spokesperson on Transport, Senator Paschal Donohoe, said that the completed works will be an asset to our road network but that it comes with a heafty price tag for the taxpayer.

“The upgraded M50 works, which will be officially opened by the Minister today, will be welcomed by all regular users of the road. The cost of this project, however, comes in at a staggering €1 billion and is further evidence of Fianna Fáil’s inability to secure value for money for the Irish taxpayer.

“While the upgrade of this stretch of the motorway which cost a whopping €1 billion, in which 32 kilometres of the road from the M1 to the Sandyford interchange was widened, people will no doubt be horrified to learn that each kilometre of the upgrade cost a phenomenal €31.2 million per kilometre to complete.

“Furthermore the cost of the M50 motorway, which was completed in June 2005 after 17 years of construction, increased almost ninefold from first phase to last, with the first phase, which began in 1988 costing €6.8 million per kilometre and the last phase coming in at €60m per kilometre to complete.

“Fianna Fáil profligacy and flagrant abuse of taxpayers’ money over the years has brought this country to its knees. While nobody is disputing the need for the M50 upgrade, any attempt to improve our roads, while at the same time ensuring value for money, has clearly not been at the top of the Government’s agenda.

“The Minister must now look other ways of developing our road and rail network in a way that makes life easier for the commuter, but that doesn’t cost the earth. The creation of Park & Ride facilities in close proximity to the M50 at key intersections with inter urban routes is one such way. The Park & Ride facility at the Luas stop at the Red Cow has proven to be a great success. The Minister must now look at other locations where there is scope for similar facilities such as at the Liffey Valley/Maynooth and the Finglas/Ashbourne exits.

“The upgraded M50 works will no doubt be a valuable asset to our infrastructure network. However, the Minister must ensure that value for money is sought where future projects are concerned and that much needed upgrades do not involve such unwarranted and excessive costs.”