CORK Chamber has said planning for a light rail system on Leeside needs to begin as soon as possible.
With the Cork city boundary set to expand and its population expected to double, politicians and business people from across the city have been leading the calls for the transport system.
Chamber chief executive, Conor Healy, said the Government needed to start planning for the new infrastructure now.
“What we need to ensure now is that we’re planning, that there is early investment going in and that government is recognising the need for investment in transport infrastructure in Cork outside of the traditional modes.
“With the scale of Cork’s growth and development, it needs a new form of public transport over the next number of years to ensure we’re building properly for the future.
“All that planning needs to start now and in my opinion, it needs to be recognised in the Capital Plan which comes out next year,” he added.
“The time is ripe to put planning in place for the future of Cork.”
Meanwhile, Cork South Central TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire said Cork needs to show ambition and vision if it is to reach its full potential as a significant city in Ireland and Europe.
“The Government has, in recent times been talking about more balanced regional development and ensuring there is strong population growth in Cork and cities outside of Dublin,” said Mr Ó Laoghaire.
“But Cork will not be able to sustain that level of population growth without serious investment in public transport,” he added.
While Mr Ó Laoghaire concedes it may take time to deliver, plans for a light rail system should begin now.
“This may take a number of years to deliver, but we should start the project now,” he said.
“We can begin with bus rapid transport systems operating on the corridors where a rail line could then run.”