Rapid Transit System must benefit West Belfast
Sinn Féin West Belfast MLA Jennifer McCann has welcomed the debate on a Rapid Transit System for Belfast and particularly the decision of Regional Development Minster to ensure that West Belfast is not excluded from the proposals.
Ms McCann said:
"This is a first step in the delivery of a Rapid Transit System which will complement, improve and integrate public transport for the needs and the future needs of Belfast. Such a system can deliver a long term integrated sustainable transport system linking all communities to employment, education facilities and hospitals.
"It is no secret that areas like West Belfast including Shankill have suffered a severe lack of investment in jobs and economic regeneration. There is an opportunity to promote equality of opportunity both in the linkages to employment and education with this Rapid Transit system.
"The Investment Strategy and the Programme for Government have a number of key priorities, of which growing the economy and using increased prosperity and economic growth to tackle existing patterns of social disadvantage and on going poverty are central.
"The Procurement of major infrastructure can be taken forward in such a way so as to ensure equality, sustainability and social outcomes are at its core. This Rapid Transit System offers the opportunity to both create economic regeneration in areas of disadvantage by creating employment opportunities and to open up access to employment and educational opportunities by providing a much needed gateway.
"While I welcome the decision of Conor Murphy to reverse the previous plans that would have excluded West Belfast totally I believe there will be a major gap in the service if consideration is not given to the Colin area of West Belfast. The route needs to take in the main Stewartstown Road.
"I also hope the minister would look at the whole corridor between Belfast and Lisburn particularly the route from the Falls Road right up the main Stewartsown Road and onto Lisburn." ENDS