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Local projects could benefit from money intended for 'Boris bridge,' says Muir, after report confirms costs impossible to justify

A number of local infrastructure projects could benefit from the money intended for a bridge between Northern Ireland and Scotland, Alliance MLA Andrew Muir has said, after a Government-commissioned report said the costs would be impossible to justify.

The official report by Sir Peter Hendy said the cost of building a bridge could be as high as £335 billion, while a tunnel would be an estimated £209 billion. The Union Connectivity Review states the costs would be impossible to justify.

Alliance Infrastructure spokesperson Mr Muir said the money intended for the “vanity project” could now be used for much-needed transport projects in Northern Ireland instead.

“The decision to pull the plug on this vanity project is not a surprise, as it was always more about politics than reality,” said Mr Muir.

“The discussion of this bridge was the classic example of headline-grabbing politics to distract from the general incompetence of the UK Government. It has been a waste of time, effort and money from the beginning.

“With the billions originally being earmarked to pay for the project, that money could be much better used to deliver a number of much-needed infrastructure projects across Northern Ireland, some of which are now cited in the final report. We should see funding channelled to devolved institutions to enable improvement of the rail and bus network across the entire region, a high-speed rail link between Belfast and Dublin, and any number of road safety works carried out, including both the A75 and A77 for those travelling to and from Scotland.

“This should not be yet another report full of false promises and resulting in yet more power grabs by the UK Government over the heads of locally-elected politicians. Alliance’s Green New Deal calls for investment in a green recovery from the pandemic. This is now an opportunity to provide the finances to kickstart that.”