THE NATIONAL Transport Authority (NTA) will not set up camp in Cork, despite heading up one of the largest infrastructure projects ever undertaken in the State.
A public consultation on the draft document for the €3.5bn Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (CMATS) ended in June and the NTA was urged by city councillors and Cork Chamber to open an office in Cork to deal with local authorities, stakeholders and the public.
However, in a letter to Cork City Council responding to a motion from councillor Paudie Dineen, the NTA has said it sees no need for an office in Cork.
“The NTA does not have any plans at present to open a regional office in Cork. However, we remain committed to assisting in the delivery of an enhanced public and sustainable transport system in the Cork metropolitan area, guided by the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy which is [in the] process of finalisation following feedback from the recent public consultation process," said deputy chief executive of the NTA Hugh Creegan.
“This issue of a potential regional office for NTA activities will be kept under review,” Mr Creegan added.
The CMATS plan includes significant investment in road, rail, cycling and walking infrastructure, culminating in a light rail system that is slated to be completed by 2040.
CMATS envisages a 25-stop, 17km light rail network running from the N22 west of Ballincollig all the way to Mahon.
It is estimated it could carry 46 million people per annum on 27 trams. The €1bn plan is the first real schematic 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.
Cork Chamber has also called for the contents of the document to be put on a statutory footing.