A Dublin TD says he believes the MetroLink will go to the planning stage in the second quarter of next year.
Alan Farrell was speaking as the National Transport Authority (NTA) says the long-promised project will not be completed until the 2030s.
A draft strategy also says the proposed DART underground project - linking Heuston Station and Pearse Station - will now not happen until after 2042.
Extending the Luas to Bray, Finglas, Lucan and Poolbeg are among the projects now listed for between 2031-2042.
But Dublin-Fingal Deputy Alan Farrell told The Hard Shoulder the timetable for MetroLink will still see the project move next year.
"MetroLink will go to planning hopefully in Q2 - so Q1 they're going to finalise the railway order, and then submit it shortly thereafter.
"The hope would be, in terms of timelines, which of course Government has not been able to provide because of the uncertainty around what planning will involve and then also the tender process.
"This is not a four-bed semi-d; you have to go out to tender on the international market, and there are only a small number of firms who will be capable of such a project".
He says the 19km project is "absolutely crucial" and will allow people to get from the city centre to Dublin Airport in 19 minutes.
"Catchment area of over 350,000 people, it'll take thousands - if not tens of thousands - of cars off the road.
"And I suppose the delivery time, as TII outlined in March or April of this year, they suggested that it would be between six to eight years to deliver it.
"So if you factor all of those in with an application in Q2 - or thereabouts - of 2022, you can see this being delivered in around 2030".
Asked about Luas extensions being pushed back, he says some projects are being delivered "on an ability basis".
"I know the Luas to Finglas, that my former colleague Noel Rock would have been a big champion for, has been pushed back a little.
"But there are other projects, there are other key infrastructural projects for certain communities.
"Everything from Clongriffin and Balgriffin in my neck of the woods, out as far as Knocklyon and Clondalkin.
"So they are important, but... they are being delivered on an ability basis, as I think the Tánaiste outlined earlier today.
"He said there's only so many critical infrastructure pieces that we can deliver at the same time, and that is totally understandable when you consider the volume".