Light rail for Galway plan hits the buffersAugust 24, 2012 - 7:15am
BY FRANK FARRAGHER
The ‘dream’ of a light rail system (GLUAS) for the city – while still a technical possibility – looks to be an almost certain ‘non-runner’ for the next decade at least, due to the current economic climate, the Galway City Tribune has learned.
While some work is still going on behind the scenes to keep the project alive, the Chairman of the Galway GLUAS Committee, Brendan Holland, has told the Galway City Tribune that the current economic climate has, ‘for the moment at least’, stymied their plans.
“We have sown the seed and we still very strongly that the whole principle of a light rail system would be a good one for Galway, but we just cannot ignore the current economic climate that we all live in.
“The idea is good and over the coming years, some other people may take up the baton, but to be honest about it, many of our members are just concentrating 100% on keeping their own businesses viable in what are very tough economic times at present,” said Mr Holland.
The cost of putting a light rail system infrastructure into Galway City has varied from €200m to €750m, but there are no indications of any financial allocation being provided from central Government for such a project.
City Council Director of Services, Ciarán Hayes, told the Galway City Tribune that the Council was awaiting detailed technical data from the GLUAS Committee on different aspects of the project.
“The City Council is heavily committed to major improvements in our public transport system and we have examined in detail the provision of a bus rapid transit system over the coming years.
“We have also looked at the GLUAS proposals put before us but we must see what provides us with the best value for money system, given the resources that are at our disposal,” said Mr Hayes.
He said that a lot of work had been done – and a lot more was planned for the coming years – in relation to the development of the public transport routes and corridors through the city.
Professor Lewis Lesley of English company Trampower, one of the prime movers behind the GLUAS campaign for the city, said this week that they were reviewing the project in light of the fall in the cost of new construction projects.
“It is clear that GLUAS enjoys considerable public support and that GLUAS trams [powered by electricity] are about giving a large number of people a better choice than sitting in their cars, stuck in a traffic jam and pumping out poisonous fumes,” said Prof Lesley.
For more on this story, see the Galway City Tribune.