As the Deputy is aware, transport investment in all the major cities is now guided by the development of metropolitan area transport strategies.
Since 2016 transport strategies have been published in respect of the Greater Dublin Area, Galway and the Cork Metropolitan Area, while development of a transport strategy for the Limerick-Shannon Metropolitan Area has commenced and work on the final strategy in respect of the Waterford Metropolitan Area will commence this year.
This move toward evidence based, plan-led transport planning for our major cities is to be welcomed and allows for consideration of all relevant issues and the potential role all modes of transport can play in addressing those issues. I would also note that providing this type of long-term investment framework represents international best practice in the area of transport planning.
In relation to Galway, the issue of light rail in Galway city was comprehensively examined as part of the development of the Galway Transport Strategy. The Strategy concluded that a bus based public transport system, supported by various active travel and public realm improvements, represents the most appropriate system for Galway over the period considered by the Strategy.
I do know that in recent times interest has been expressed by some in a new light rail technology emerging in the UK. However, I also know from meeting many different stakeholders in the region in recent weeks and months of the urgent need to focus on delivering the key elements of the Galway Transport Strategy, and I am committed to supporting the local authority in that regard with funding and other support offered through the National Transport Authority.