Strangford MLA Ms Armstrong was speaking during a debate on rail services from Belfast City Centre to Belfast International Airport in the Assembly today (Tuesday). However, Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard told the chamber it would be 2030 before such a link would be viable.
But Ms Armstrong said outside the box thinking would allow such connectivity to be created.
“I would call on the Minister to investigation options to enable the reopening of the Lisburn to Antrim line with a stop at Belfast International Airport. It would bring the ability to get the train to the airport but also allow travel between two growing settlements.
“Local people overwhelmingly support the reopening of the line and are frustrated it has yet to occur. They have continually petitioned my colleague David Ford, who has consistently brought this issue to successive Ministers, only to be told it will be considered in future. The current Minister should look to his regional development strategy, where an increasing shift from car to public transport figures strongly. Here we have people who want to use public transport but are unable to do so because the line is closed to the public.
“The Minister needs to answer the question of how attractive he is making Northern Ireland for business and tourism? If we are to attract inward investment and grow our tourism market, we need better connectivity and investment in public transport. If we make it easier for people to get about, we make us easier to visit and do business with.”