I thank the Deputy for his question.
The recently published action plan to tackle climate breakdown sets out a whole-of-government approach to climate action and maps a potential pathway to meet Ireland's 2030 emissions reduction commitments. The plan clearly recognises that Ireland must step up significantly its commitments to address climate disruption. A wide-ranging set of bold and challenging actions for transport are set out, particularly with regard to active travel - cycling and walking - and public transport. I want to make sure we will provide high quality cycling and walking infrastructure, as well as a reliable public transport system, to make public and active travel options a viable alternative for as many people as possible and more of their journeys than ever before. In that way, we will lower climate-harmful emissions, begin to tackle congestion and see an improvement in local air quality.
The plan includes our commitment to deliver an additional 500,000 public transport and active travel journeys daily by 2035. This is a significant step-up in our ambition and requires expanding the capacity and attractiveness of walking and cycling networks, as well as the public transport system. Under Project Ireland 2040, we have assigned €8.6 billion to support sustainable mobility. In addition to support for key public transport projects, this investment will vastly improve cycling and walking infrastructure in all major cities. In fact, the €8.6 billion investment budget is well above what we will be investing in new roads, which is a reversal of the balance of investment in the past. In the period from 2018 to 2021, inclusive, €110 million will be specifically dedicated to cycling and walking infrastructure in major urban areas; €750 million is earmarked for the BusConnects programme in Dublin to include the delivery of around 200 km of segregated cycling lanes; and €53 million will be used to support the development of new greenways. This will support the increasing numbers who choose cycling as their preferred mode of transport, including e-bike users. It is clear that prioritising investment in cycling networks is working. The number of annual cycling trips is increasing, particularly within the greater Dublin area, with surveys such as the Canal Cordon Count showing cycling numbers almost doubling between 2011 and 2018.
We need to build on this and do even more. Key actions under the climate plan underpin the commitment to increasing cycling as a mode of travel, including the establishment of a cycling project office within the National Transport Authority and the development of implementation plans and increased cycling infrastructure in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford.
Additional information not given on the floor of the House
The Cycling Project Office will ensure the new cycling infrastructure is delivered optimally, in line with the significantly increased funding being provided.
The cycle to work scheme continues to encourage the use of bicycles and e-bikes to travel to and from work. Under the scheme, an eligible employer can buy a bicycle for his or her employees and the employee pays the amount, less the tax relief, over up to 12 months through a salary sacrifice arrangement. Up to €1,000 can be provided towards the purchase of a new bicycle or e-bike, which is a generous contribution towards the cost of any commuter bicycle but especially towards the cost of an e-bike which is generally more expensive.
The climate challenge needed a step up in ambition and a renewed determination across government and society to tackle climate disruption. The climate action plan has given us the required level of focus and drive. I am personally committed to the decarbonisation of the transport sector and hope to see transport emissions levels continue to fall, as they did in 2018. Cycling will play an important role in the decarbonisation effort and I am dedicated to investing and improving the cycling network.