The go-ahead for a rapid transit system for Belfast and a £43.5m allocation for a Titanic Museum have been agreed by the Northern Ireland Executive.
Following research into alternative tram and bus schemes, the Executive approved the establishment of a bus scheme that will use dedicated roadways for much of its length, linking the city centre with East and West Belfast and the new Titanic Quarter.
Regional development minister Conor Murphy said: “The speed, reliability and comfort of the service will attract drivers out of their cars as they see the advantages of rapid transit. It is also expected to attract over 5.5million passengers a year and there will be high frequency services every five minutes at rush hour.”
Murphy said that the project would provide an economic boost for Northern Ireland, particularly in the construction industry. The scheme is expected to cost a total of £150m, including private sector contributions.
The Executive also approved expenditure of £43.5m towards the next stage of the development of the Titanic Quarter, Europe’s largest mixed-used regeneration project. A Titanic Signature Project is one of Northern Ireland’s target tourism projects, which will include a Titanic Museum on the site of the boat’s construction. The museum is to open in time for the centenery of the ship’s sinking in 2012. It is expected that 600 construction jobs will be created in the building of the museum, which is hoped will attract 400,000 visitors a year.