Transport Minister Seamus Brennan said that agreement has been reached on a major new guaranteed investment package of over €3.5 billion for public transport between now and 2008.

Minister Brennan said that the formal agreement with the Finance Minister on the finance would deliver 'historically high investment' in the railways, as well as in bus and other areas of public transport.

He said the multi-annual capital would provide a total of €2.3 billion for public transport projects from 2004 to 2008. The Exchequer will provide over €1.7 billion of this figure and the rest will be raised through other financing mechanisms.

A further €1.3 billion will be available for subvening public transport services over the same period. 

Expenditure over the four years will be invested mainly in the rail network on projects such as upgrading the DART system, improving rolling stock and services on intercity lines, expansion of the Luas network and providing regional rail services.

The Minister made the announcement as he officially opened the €117m redevelopment project at Dublin's Heuston Station. The project came in under budget and ahead of schedule and means that the station is now in a position to facilitate the growth projected for decades to come.

Journey times on nearly all the intercity services into Dublin from Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford had been reduced by up to 30 minutes with the improvements at the station.