IRELAND IS this week considering plans to accelerate parts of the transportation plan for Dublin to ease traffic congestion.
Ministers are understood to be considering a submission from the Dublin Transportation Office (DTO) to provide funding to accelerate rail and road projects.
No details of the amount of money being sought have been released, but the figures are believed to be substantial.
The DTO's strategy document Platform for Change identifies IR£14.2bn (£11.4bn) of transportation projects needed by 2016, including the construction of a part-tunnelled metro system.
Around £3.52bn has already been committed under the country's National Development Plan due to finish in 2006, but the new projects could add another £1.92bn to the programme.
This does not include funding for the project costs of the first stage of Dublin's metro from the city to the airport and Blanchardstown in the west. A case for construction to begin before 2006 is also believed to be included in spending proposals for the first time, further adding to the money needed.
Other projects include fourtracking the two-track Kildare line; signalling and upgrades around Connolly Station and the Loop Line to improve capacity on the Maynooth and Northern lines; and new rolling stock for the Maynooth line.
Funding for roads is also believed to be on the list.
Dublin's peak traffic has shattered forecasts, rising 75% in ten years, and is due to jump by 60% on today's levels by 2016.