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DART Misses The Property Bull's-Eye

Dart trains Connolly Station Dublin 2012

What is another 10 years, when you have waited nearly 50? The €4B underground sections of the DART transit system will not be underway for another 10 years at least according to Transport Minister Shane Ross, The Sunday Times reports.

The move confirmed suggestions earlier this year that ministers were preparing to ditch the plan, and were looking instead at more modest €1.95B proposals for extra Northside DART stations.

The 4.7-mile tunnel across the city centre from Griffith Avenue through to St Stephen's Green has been described as the missing link in Dublin infrastructure. There is also a tunnelled section under the airport. The so-called Interconnector proposal was born in the early 1970s, and if implemented would link major transport hubs: Heuston Station would be linked to new underground stations across Dublin at Pearse Street, the Docklands and St Stephen’s Green.

Has Dublin missed out on a chance to boost the property market in a way often seen in other cites where new underground stations have become development hot spots? Whilst there was some hope the scheme might ease congestion, the direct economic benefits have never been clear.

The official business case published in 2010 did not reveal the likely payback in terms of gross domestic product impact. "The analysis suggests that DART Underground would increase GDP by [text deleted] (as a Present Value) of which [text deleted]" it helpfully said. Reports at the time suggested the GDP impact could be €420M a year by 2020.

The more recent 2015 business case put the wider economic impact at €300-525M.

According to The Times, the government has already spent €48M on the shelved underground project.