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Good progress has been made since the take-note debate in the House on the strategic outline case for rapid transit on Tuesday 3 June 2008. We have concluded the engagement with key stakeholders. As a result of some concerns that were expressed, we further explored an alternative route for rapid transit in east Belfast. The results of that work have shown that it is not viable to use the Upper Newtownards Road as part of the scheme. We are also establishing a dedicated delivery team for rapid transit and are purchasing land for the scheme. In recognition of the wider benefits of rapid transit, I have also written to my ministerial colleagues, inviting their comments on my proposals.
The purpose of rapid-transit schemes — indeed, of investment in all public transport — is to reduce the number of cars on the roads, thereby reducing the congestion and pollution that traffic causes. Of course, investment in a rapid-transit system is expected to have a positive impact on the environment, and it will certainly have a positive impact on the development of the city of Belfast itself.