Provision of Light Rail in Galway City versus an unsustainable 30 million euro per kilometre for a 16.5 kilometre new road through the City working out at over 500 million at a conservative estimate!
There is definitely an election in the air notwithstanding the Taoiseach’s ongoing denials. I have just listened to Deputy Noel Grealish confirm on the Keith Finnegan show that he firmly believes that a ‘Light Rail’ system is the answer to Galway’s traffic congestion and not an outer bypass and/or through road-what a welcome u turn on a very long road and excuse the bad pun!.
I am a City Councillor for 16 years and I have watched with horror as all elected politicians be they Councillors, TDs or Senators including the Labour Party representatives who were initially against the original outer by pass but who did a complete U Turn prior to the general election in 201 on this issue. (with the honorable exception of Cllr Colette Connolly who was absolutely isolated for her view).
I say I watched with horror because whilst the outer by pass was pursued relentlessly and foolishly no other solution was ever considered.
Now the Outer by Pass is off the cards but it has been replaced foolishly with a proposal for another road called the N6 project which is a proposal for a 16 and half kilometre road at approximately 30 million euro a kilometre and which will go through the City.
Quite understandably the general reaction from the public has been one of outrage at such an unsustainable and expensive solution to a traffic problem that has not been analysed properly in the first place.
In this regard I have attended three packed public meetings since January in Barna, Castlegar/Clayton Hotel and in the Westwood Hotel and witnessed this outrage first hand.
In addition however I also witnessed the beginning of a new movement for a sustainable solution to the traffic problems in the City and in particular a serious call for the local authorities and Government to look at light rail.
This is a solution I have pushed for all my political life along with a whole range of other solutions including the provision of Park and Ride facilities on the East and West of the City and the provision of a school transport service to lift the school traffic off our city’s roads.
It is important also to give credit to the local committee headed by former Councillor Brendan Holland who worked for many years to bring the public and politicians on board in relation to light rail and indeed who gave a detailed presentation to the City Council.
Unfortunately we will need a lot more u turns from our TDs and/or a huge campaign from the public to force a sea change.
Here’s to a light rail campaign and the next public meeting in relation to same.