Transport Policy

Questions (302)

Catherine Martin

Question:

302. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the measures is he considering to incentivise a move towards more environmentally friendly HGVs such as Euro 6 engines (details supplied); and if the grants and scrappage schemes are being considered. [28470/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

According to the most recent emission inventory from the EPA and using the SEAI energy balance, it is estimated that heavy-duty vehicles contributed just under 19% of the total land transport emissions in 2017, second only to emissions from private passenger cars. The Deputy correctly notes that diesel technology has become progressively cleaner and greener over the past decade with the introduction of each improving Euro-class standard. Euro VI-class engines demonstrably emit fewer harmful air pollutants such as NOX and PMs. Notwithstanding that progress, a transition away from the use of fossil fuels towards alternative fuels in the heavy-duty sector will be required in the coming years to reduce our growing freight emissions.

My Department is working closely with that of Minister Bruton to encourage this transition, and an interdepartmental Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) Taskforce was jointly convened to consider the range of options available to Government to accelerate the take-up of low-carbon technologies. While electric technology in the heavy-duty sector is not as well developed as in the light-duty sector, this is rapidly changing as the market matures; large vehicles such as electric trucks have been sold in other jurisdictions, indicating that electricity may become a more feasible option for the heavy-duty sector in the longer term. Of course, electric vehicles are not the only alternative fuel or technology available to reduce transport emissions; the National Policy Framework for Alternative Fuels Infrastructure in Ireland, published by my Department in 2017, outlined a potential role for other fuels and technologies, including hydrogen, biofuels and natural gas/biogas. Phase 2 of the LEV Taskforce which is considering these alternative fuels, amongst others, is ongoing. It is expected that the Taskforce will submit recommendations in this regard to Government as part of the 2020 Budget and Estimates Process. The role of incentives, such as those mentioned by the Deputy, will be considered in this context.

Over the coming years, further steps will be needed to help move towards decarbonisation of the freight sector and, more broadly, towards meeting our national emissions targets. The Climate Action Plan indicates potential pathways to achieving this. Action 83 of the Climate Action Plan indicates a commitment to consider the introduction of an emissions-based VRT and motor tax for light goods vehicles and heavy goods vehicles. The Deputy will be aware that responsibility for taxation, and consequently for implementation of this action, rests with the Department of Finance.

Road Safety

Questions (303)

John Curran

Question:

303. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of research by the Road Safety Authority into e-scooters and other such vehicles; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28349/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The Road Safety Authority's review of current practice and safety implications of electric personal mobility devices was submitted to me in late June.

The publication of the report is a matter for the Road Safety Authority, in consultation with my Department, once I have made a decision on the way forward in relation to electric scooters. Until then, the report forms part of the deliberative process and will not be published until this has concluded.

Transport Policy

Questions (304)

John Curran

Question:

304. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the progress of outcomes of trials of low emission buses being conducted by his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28350/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The operational phase of the low-emission bus trials has now concluded and the findings are currently being assessed. I expect that summary findings will be made available by my Department in the coming weeks and will be happy to advise the Deputy of same.

More generally, my Department is also reviewing public transport policy to ensure that services are sustainable into the future and are meeting the needs of a modern economy. One strand of the work under this review is considering the range of low- and zero-emission fuels and technologies which are currently commercially available for the urban bus market, and I expect that this analysis will also further inform Ireland’s medium and longer term technology procurement decisions for the public bus fleets, alongside the findings of the vehicle trials.

Cycling Facilities Provision

Questions (305, 306, 307)

John Curran

Question:

305. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the new and additional cycle routes completed to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28351/19]

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John Curran

Question:

306. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the funding allocated on new and additional cycle routes in each of the years 2015 to 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28352/19]

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John Curran

Question:

307. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the funding allocated to the upgrade and improvement of existing cycle lanes in each of the years 2015 to 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28353/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 305 to 307, inclusive, together.

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport, including active travel. The National Transport Authority (NTA) allocates the funding at a project level.

Noting the NTA's responsibility in the matter, I have therefore referred the Deputy's questions to the Authority for a more detailed reply. Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 days.

Road Network

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Questions (308, 309)

John Curran

Question:

308. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the progress made to implement a variable speed limit regime on the M50 to improve its operational efficiency by smoothing traffic flow; when this measure will be fully implemented; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28354/19]

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John Curran

Question:

309. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the progress made on the implementation of lane control signalling on the M50 to facilitate the rapid deployment of lane closures in order to protect road users and emergency services during an incident on the route; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28355/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 308 and 309 together.

A critical factor in implementing a new Variable Speed Limit regime and the ability to deploy lane closures is the need to enact legislation which will underpin the new proposals. Arising from the prioritisation of urgent legislation to address some of the risks consequent on the UK's intention to leave the European Union, it has not been possible to progress the legislation as quickly as originally intended. However the Department continues to work on the required legislation.

It is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) to implement improvements to infrastructure on the M50 to facilitate a Variable Speed Limit regime and the deployment of lane closures. As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. Under the Roads Acts 1993-2015, the planning, design and upgrading of individual national roads is a matter for TII in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.

Noting the above position, I have referred the questions to TII for a more detailed reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Cycling Policy

Questions (310, 329, 330, 331, 332, 333)

John Curran

Question:

310. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when the analysis of the National Cycling Policy Framework will be published as part of the review of public transport policy by his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28356/19]

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Catherine Martin

Question:

329. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the progress made in implementing policy 19.1 of the National Cycle Policy Framework (details supplied). [28472/19]

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Catherine Martin

Question:

330. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the progress made in implementing policy 18.8 of the National Cycle Policy Framework (details supplied). [28473/19]

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Catherine Martin

Question:

331. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the progress made in implementing policy 18.7 of the National Cycle Policy Framework (details supplied). [28474/19]

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Catherine Martin

Question:

332. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the progress made in implementing policy 17.3 of the National Cycle Policy Framework (details supplied). [28475/19]

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Catherine Martin

Question:

333. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the progress made in implementing policy 17.4 of the National Cycle Policy Framework (details supplied). [28476/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 310 and 329 to 333, inclusive, together.

As the Deputy may be aware, in the coming weeks and in line with a Programme for a Partnership Government commitment, I will seek the public's views on public transport and active travel policy. This review will allow all stakeholders to reflect on what has been achieved, what remains to be done and how our policy frameworks can support the realisation of a more sustainable transport system.

The review is premised on the concept of integrated and sustainable transport, in keeping with the objectives of Smarter Travel – A Sustainable Transport Future which formed the overarching policy backdrop to the development of the National Cycling Policy Framework. As part of the overall review therefore, analysis of the National Cycling Policy Framework and the implementation status of its actions is being conducted and will be published as part of the overall review.

Last year, as part of this review I hosted a Public Transport Stakeholder Forum in the Mansion House at which representatives from a broad spectrum of interest groups in the wider public and sustainable transport sector attended, including those representing cyclists.

I look forward to engagement by the general public and all stakeholders with the forthcoming consultation process and welcome their views in relation to the both public transport and active travel as a mode of transport.

Railway Stations

Questions (311)

John Curran

Question:

311. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his attention has been drawn to the fact that Kishogue train station will not be open and operational until the end of 2020; if he is satisfied with this progress; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28357/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

As the Deputy is aware, the National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for the planning and development of public transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA).

I very much welcome the integrated approach toward land-use planning and public transport provision as exemplified within the Clonburris Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) planning scheme.

The NTA, in collaboration with South Dublin County Council, developed the Transport Assessment and Transport Strategy which underpins the Planning Scheme for Clonburris SDZ, and a key public transport element of that strategy is of course the opening of Kishogue Railway Station.

The Deputy is aware that the planning scheme for the SDZ was only approved by An Bord Pleanála in May and that the Council is now preparing a consolidated planning scheme, incorporating the modifications made by the Board, and this consolidated planning scheme will be used by the planning authority in assessing future planning applications within the SDZ.

I have been advised by the NTA, as has the Deputy, that the NTA currently envisages the station opening at the end of 2020. As I have stated already, the planning and development of public transport infrastructure is a statutory function of the NTA.

The Deputy will be aware that improvements have already been introduced for existing residents in the wider Lucan South area through improved train services using the Adamstown station, which has park and ride facilities, and significantly increased services on both of the major bus routes in the area which were introduced in late March.

Motor Insurance Data

Questions (312)

John Curran

Question:

312. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the progress made regarding the establishment of a motor insurance database; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28358/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The database to identify uninsured drivers is known as the Motor Third Party Liability (MTPL) Project.

My Department issued a letter of intent to Insurance Ireland for amending of Road Traffic Act legislation to support the project in 2018 as part of the forthcoming Road Traffic (Miscellaneous Provisions Bill . This Bill has been referred to Cabinet Committee for further consideration. Ongoing meetings of the database project board are being held to oversee the project’s implementation. The Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) state that the current project focus is on privately insured vehicles, which represent 92% of insured vehicles. Fleet policies, which present many challenges as insurers do not currently successfully capture all of the required detailed data regarding vehicles and drivers in a timely way, will be addressed in a later project phase.

The key reasons for the lengthening of the timetable for delivery of the MTPL database are:

- Delivery has now been significantly expanded to cover details on all Private, Commercial and Fleet motor vehicle information

- Delivery of the capability to capture and validate driver number details will require both an initial industry-wide start date for the collection of data for new policies and an extended period to allow for driver number details to be collected on normal renewals.

- Before insurance companies can start requiring customers to supply both their driver number details and those of their named drivers on the policy, amendments to the Road Traffic Acts will need to be in place.

- Mechanisms will have to be developed and agreed between all insurers and DTTAS Shannon for them to gain access to the NVDF to validate driver numbers.

Insurance Ireland and all the insurance companies operating in Ireland, working together with DTTAS, An Garda Síochána, and the MIBI, through the MTPL Insurance Database Project Board, have now structured the delivery of Phase 2 of the MTPL project into four sub-phases, namely:

- Delivery of all information currently covered by section 78(a) of the Road Traffic Act      (2016) for both private and commercial vehicles, by end 2019.

- Delivery of driver number capture and validation capability, by end of 2019, subject to the necessary legislative amendments being passed.

- Delivery of motor fleet information, by 2020.

- Delivery of all driver numbers for all drivers (following the completion of the required renewal cycles), by 2021.

Public Transport Data

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Questions (313)

Noel Rock

Question:

313. Deputy Noel Rock asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the purchases at Luas ticket machines by payment type, that is, card and cash, in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28362/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The issue raised is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) in conjunction with the Luas operator Transdev and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to TII for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Sports Capital Programme Applications

Questions (314)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

314. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of an application for the sports capital grant by a group (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28370/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The 2018 round of the Sports Capital Programme closed for applications on Friday 19th October last.  By that deadline, a record 2,337 applications were submitted seeking a total of €162m in funding. 

186 of these applications were for projects that were deemed invalid under the 2017 round of the programme that subsequently submitted corrected documents.  These applications were assessed first and approximately €7m in allocations to 170 projects were announced on the 17th January. 

619 equipment only applications were assessed next and 466 allocations with a value of €9.8m were announced in May.

Work is now underway in assessing the remaining applications for capital works, including an application from the organisation referred to by the Deputy. 

For the first time applicants who submitted incorrect documentation under this round are being given the opportunity to correct their application during the assessment period. While there will be no undue delay in completing the assessment process, in view of the opportunity to correct documentation, the record number of applications received and the detailed information contained in each application, it is likely to take a number of months to have all applications assessed. Accordingly, I expect that it will be towards the end of the third quarter of this year before the full set of allocations under this current round of the programme are announced.

Irish Aviation Authority

Questions (315, 316, 317, 318)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

315. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of domestically owned private jets registered here. [28375/19]

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Pearse Doherty

Question:

316. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of domestically or commercially owned private helicopters registered here. [28376/19]

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Pearse Doherty

Question:

317. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of private jet and plane journeys that departed from here in 2018 or the latest year for which data is available. [28377/19]

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Pearse Doherty

Question:

318. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of privately owned helicopter journeys that took place here in 2018 or the latest year for which data is available. [28378/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 315 to 318, inclusive, together.

Details about the registration and use of private aircraft is a matter, in the first instance, for the State's aviation regulator the Irish Aviation Authority, who I have asked to respond directly on the matters raised. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Public Transport Expenditure

Questions (319)

Imelda Munster

Question:

319. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the capital allocation provided to Iarnród Éireann, Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus in each of the years 2016 to 2019. [28396/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

As the Deputy is aware capital funding is primarily provided by my Department to Iarnród Éireann, Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus through the National Transport Authority (NTA).

In addition to that NTA administered funding programme, funding is also provided directly to Iarnród Éireann by my Department under the Infrastructure Manager Multi-Annual Contract (or IMMAC), which provides the funding framework for the maintenance and renewal of our railway infrastructure and is a statutory contractual agreement between the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport and Iarnród Éireann.

The annual Exchequer contributions to the IMMAC from 2016 to 2019 are provided in the following table:

2016

2017

2018

2019

Exchequer contribution to IMMAC

€134m

€158.8m

€160m

€197m

With regard to the funding programmes managed by the NTA, I have referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for direct reply. Please inform my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 days.

Rail Services Provision

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Questions (320)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

320. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if increased train services will be considered for commuters in Portarlington, County Laois; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28419/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The issue raised is an operational matter for Iarnród Éireann and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the company for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within 10 working days.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A