Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has said the €320m price tag for the second parallel runway at Dublin Airport is “value for money,” despite concerns from Transport Minister Shane Ross.
He also warned that major infrastructural projects funded by the Government in the coming years are likely to cost more because of the economy’s expansion.
Mr Ross and Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary have expressed concern at the increase in the cost of the project, due for completion in 2020, from its original price tag of €250m.
But in an interview with the Irish Examiner, Mr Donohoe said he is satisfied the increased cost still represents a good investment for the taxpayer.
“I am satisfied that the proposed second runway is value for money and that the infrastructure meets the needs we have now,” he said.
Mr Donohoe cited the experience of Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport, which was the subject of much criticism at the time of its opening in 2010 during the financial crash given its cost.
“It is funny, I always keep in mind the experience of Terminal 2, which holds very valuable lessons.
“Terminal 2 was built at a time when it looked like the capacity would not be utilised and the price tag for it appeared exceptionally high. If you look at where we are now, that terminal has played a crucial role in Dublin Airport becoming a hub airport and is already extremely busy,” he said.
The minister said he has learned from being in government that you have to have a longer time-frame when evaluating the costs of major projects.
But he said value for money will be central to the 10-year capital plan which will be announced in the coming weeks.
“That being said, in the 10-year capital plan, we will have a very big focus that if we commit to projects at a particular cost that they happen at that cost,” he said.
But Mr Donohoe gave a stark warning that the taxpayer will have to pay more in the coming years to see projects completed.
“I think it is inevitable that as we move into the phase of economic growth that we are going through now, that we will see the price of some projects change, but we have to ensure that the rate of increase still delivers value for money for the taxpayer,” he said.