by Bernie English
A LIMERICK Fine Gael TD claims that the estimated €3 billion cost of the proposed M20 motorway between Cork and Limerick is exaggerated.
Deputy Kieran O’Donnell has put it to Transport Minister and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan, that the road could be built for much less and accused him of “putting around” an exaggerated cost for the motorway.
“We have an inadequate situation where we’re not linking up our major cities outside of Dublin up to Galway. We can’t have a situation where I can drive my car from Limerick to Dublin faster than I can drive to Cork,” he said.
“We have to deal in practicalities. We must have certainty in terms of travelling and the M20 has to be a key project. It will not cost €3 billion, even though that figure is out there in the lexicon of the media.
“I need to hear Mr Ryan give me the basis for that, because I do not believe that that to be the figure,” Deputy O’Donnell declared.
He said he had reason to believe the 90km motorway could be built for between €800m and €900m.
However he was not claiming the cost was being recklessly inflated in order to prevent the sod ever being turned on the motorway.
“Even if it went to €1 billion, I would be surprised, but there is a huge gap between that and a suggested figure of €3 billion.”
A spokesperson for Minister Ryan told the Limerick Post that the most recent estimate indicated that a full motorway could cost between €2 and €3 billion.
“Minister Ryan recognises that improvements are needed to improve connectivity and safety between Cork and Limerick, “the spokesperson added.
However Deputy O’Donnell said he still wants to know how that estimate was calculated and based on what considerations.