I do not know if the Minister believes what he has just read into the record. If one considers the census statistics, it is clear we are presiding over a disaster in the area of transport. The Minister stated that we have a policy aimed at achieving modal shift. It is obvious from the census figures that this is not happening. Any analysis shows that people are switching to their cars. Our children are learning habits or starting lifestyles which will encourage them to drive to school rather than walk or cycle there as in the past.
The Minister referred to a slight marginal increase in some parts of inner city Dublin in respect of bus use. However, the reality is that most Dubliners drive to work from counties Laois, Kildare and Meath. These journeys are extremely long and lead to huge economic, social and environmental costs. The Minister is facilitating such transport patterns by spending four times more on motorways than on public transport. While he states that we want to achieve a modal shift towards public transport, the reality is that he is providing for a modal shift in the opposite direction. He is getting what he and other Ministers want to achieve, namely, a massive switch to car use.
What will the Minister do about this? How will he change policy or will it be a case of continuing as we go on the basis of the census figures? Are we to change anything or is the Minister satisfied the current policy is leading to the desired result? Does he believe the constant shift from 1986, when 45% of work journeys were done by car, to 1996, when 55% were done by car, and on to 2002, when 62% were done by car, is a step in the right direction? If not, what will he do about it?