CITY Hall's director of planning has urged the National Transport Authority to set up an office on Leeside to oversee an ambitious 20-year project to transform the city's public transport system.
The Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (CMATS) includes significant investment in roads, rail, cycling and walking infrastructure, culminating in a light rail system that is expected to be completed by 2040.
The Luas-style project involves a 25-stop, 17km light rail network running from the N22 west of Ballincollig all the way to Mahon.
It’s estimated it could carry 46 million people per year on 27 trams.
The €1bn plan is the first real blueprint of an idea that has been mooted since the 1990s.
However, it has been dismissed in some quarters as being too costly and not realistic to deliver before 2040.
The plan is expected to be adopted early in 2020 by the NTA and both Cork councils.
Cork City Council’s head of strategic and economic development Fearghal Reidy told The Echo he is confident it will happen.
“There is the €200 million Bus Connects project, the €3.5 billion CMATS project and I have faith it will happen. However, for it to happen it needs local insight and local expertise.
"It needs people on the ground working with local communities and we need difficult decisions to be made.
"To do that, you need a local office working within the city council, or in partnership with it.