The Deputy will acknowledge the significantly enhanced funding Project Ireland 2040 provides to improve active travel infrastructure and other supporting measures that will benefit both walkers and cyclists across the country.
Under the Climate Action Plan 2019 Government has committed to a number of important actions in relation to cycling, specifically Actions 91, 95 and 97. In Action 97 Government has committed to revise transport infrastructure programmes to achieve at least 10% expenditure on facilitating cycling by Q4 2020. My Department is currently examining the Action and its implementation in line with that timeline.
Currently, funding for active travel, including cycling, is provided under many programmes across both my Department and indeed wider Government.
My Department supports cycling through several programmes –
- The Cycling/Walking programme, administered by the National Transport Authority (NTA);
- The Sustainable Urban Transport programme, administered by the NTA;
- BusConnects, administered by the NTA;
- The Greenways Strategy, administered by my Department; and
- The Roads programme, administered by my Department and by Transport Infrastructure Ireland.
Funding allocated in 2019 under the cycling/walking and the sustainable urban transport programmes alone is around €48 million (almost 18% of the NTA's proposed capital investment programme for the year). In 2018, funding for these two programmes equated to approximately 15% of the NTA's capital investment programme.
Across the wider Government area there are three important funding programmes available to support a wide range of initiatives including active travel, and/or leisure orientated walking and cycling, -
- Project Ireland 2040’s Urban Regeneration and Development Fund, administered by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government;
- Project Ireland 2040’s Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, administered by the Department of Rural and Community Development; and
- The Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme, administered by the Department of Rural and Community Development with supplementary supports available through Fáilte Ireland, an agency under the aegis of my Department.
In addition funding is also available at a European level through the European Structural and Investment Funds Programme and the INTERREG programme which complement funding made available under the national programmes referred to above.
Cycling is also supported through the fiscal incentives available under the Cycle to Work Scheme which has proven very successful.
My Department will be examining the totality of all this taxpayer support for active travel, as part of our implementation of Action 97 of the Climate Action Plan 2019.
The Deputy has asked for data on percentages for cycling expenditure by my Department in recent years. Owing to the nature of the funding programmes under which cycling has been supported, it is not possible to specifically isolate the cycling element of the various investments that benefit cycling.
Therefore, the table below indicates the percentage of the capital investment under the Transport, Tourism and Sport Vote which was for the Sustainable Transport Measures Grants Programme, Regional Cities Programme, Smarter Travel/Sustainable Urban Transport Programme, Cycling & Walking Programme and Greenways, where relevant over the 5 year period. Spend in this area relates mainly to capital, accordingly current spend is not included. Variances to the percentage figures may occur from year to year due to the time various programmes cease or commence, along with changes to the overall Department budget, in particular at times when significant infrastructural projects are underway.
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