Ministerial Meetings

Ceisteanna (612)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

612. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to meet with a group (details supplied); when the meeting will take place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9457/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I met with members of this group in February 2017.

Any further meeting requests will be considered in line with the normal procedure for any such requests.

Cycling Facilities Provision

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

Ceisteanna (613, 614)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

613. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if an application has been made by Cork city council for funding to expand the public bike system into suburbs and other areas around the city; and the estimated cost of such an expansion. [9476/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

614. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if applications have been made by Cork county council for the provision of a public bike scheme in major towns; and the estimated cost of such a scheme for towns in County Cork. [9477/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 613 and 614 together.

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to cycle and public transport infrastructure. However, I am not involved in the day-to-day operations of public transport, including the management of public bike schemes.

Decisions regarding contracts, operation and expansion of existing and proposed bike schemes fall under the remit of the National Transport Authority, NTA.

Noting the NTA's responsibility in the matter, I have referred your question to the NTA for a more detailed reply with regard to your particular query, regarding funding for the Cork bike scheme. 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.

National Planning Framework

Ceisteanna (615)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

615. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason the Fota road was not included in Project Ireland 2040; and his plans to include it in funding in 2018. [9478/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads in its area is a statutory function of local authorities in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act, 1993.  Works on such roads are a matter for the relevant local authority to be funded from its own resources supplemented by State road grants.  The initial selection and prioritisation of projects to be funded from these monies is a matter for each local authority. 

In the aftermath of the financial crisis there were major cutbacks in funding for the national, regional and local road network. This resulted in the severe curtailment in funding for road improvement grant programmes, including the strategic grant scheme, in order to focus available funding on maintenance and renewal work. 

The Building on Recovery capital plan 2016-2021 and the capital plan review allocations mark a significant step forward in terms of restoring funding to the levels needed to maintain the road network in a “steady state” condition and allowing for some investment in road improvement schemes but it is going to take time for funding to build up to the required level.  For now funding will largely continue to support the maintenance of the regional and local road network. While a limited number of improvement projects are scheduled to go ahead over the next few years, funding is not available to commit to additional schemes at this point.  All available grant funding for 2018 has been allocated.

The National Development Plan does note that local authorities have plans the progress a range of projects on regional and local roads and includes examples of such projects.  My Department will be liaising with local authorities in relation to possible future projects for development in the post 2021 period and the appraisal requirements in relation to such projects.

Light Rail Projects

Ceisteanna (616)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

616. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason the green line capacity enhancement project was not concluded at the same time as the Luas cross city, if this was planned; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9510/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar 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, including the light rail network.

I have been advised by the NTA that passenger numbers on the Luas green line have increased by over 24% since the commencement of Luas cross city last December. While it is welcomed that so many new customers are using the extended green line, it has meant that, at certain times of the day, some trams are operating at capacity. The Luas cross city project included the purchase of seven additional new trams which, at 55 m length, have a higher passenger capacity than existing trams, carrying up to 379 passengers per tram and increasing overall capacity on the green line. Two of these additional trams very recently came into service.  Another is currently in Ireland undergoing final testing and commissioning and is expected to go into passenger service at the start of March. The remaining four trams, following the necessary final testing and commissioning, will be put into service progressively over the following ten weeks.  Once all seven new trams are fully deployed they, together with the existing fleet, will provide additional passenger capacity on the green line in the short-term.

The NTA has also advised of planned changes to the Luas green line timetable in May to improve the frequency of service between Broombridge and Brides Glen, particularly in the morning and evening peak periods on the green and red lines. 

Into the future, passenger numbers are expected to increase further on the green Line over the next few years, and the green line capacity enhancement project - which was recently approved by Government - is the next step in the medium term to further expand capacity, especially at peak hours, so as to cater for future demands along the line.  The project features in the NTA’s published GDA Strategy.  It involves the lengthening of the 26 existing green line trams from 43 m to 55 m and the purchase of a further 8 new 55 metre-long trams which will greatly increase the passenger capacity of the fleet to meet future passenger demand. The capacity increases at peak periods which will be provided by the project will assist in reducing crowding on the green line and enhance accessibility for mobility and sensory impaired users during these periods.  A necessary complementary investment project, known as the green line infrastructure upgrade - an investment project to lengthen the platforms at the existing green line stations - was completed towards the end of last year and enables the use of the new, longer trams.

Infrastructure and Capital Investment Programme

Ceisteanna (617)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

617. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his department's capital allocation in each of the years 2018 to 2022; and the areas to which funds will be allocated in each of those years. [9527/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The capital allocation for the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport for the years 2018 to 2022 can be found in the recently published National Development Plan 2018-2027 http://www.gov.ie/en/project-ireland-2040/

Capital Allocation

 2018

 2019

 2020

 2021

 €'000

 €'000

 €'000

 €'000

 1,327

 1,643

 2,058

 2,526

My budget speech 2018 listed the priorities within the programmes within my Department and how the capital allocations will be spent. http://www.dttas.ie/speeches/2017/minister-ross-budget-2018-speech

Further details on my Department's capital allocation can also be found in REV 2018 which was  published in December 2017.  http://www.per.gov.ie/en/revised-estimates-for-public-services-2018-published/  

Irish Coast Guard Issues

Ceisteanna (618)

John Brassil

Ceist:

618. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his attention has been drawn to the efforts by Ballyheigue Coast Guard unit to take over the building occupied by Glenderry inshore rescue unit; if his attention has been further drawn to the fact that the lack of a folio number for the boathouse of the latter is inhibiting this transition; the steps he will take to address this anomaly; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9547/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Ballyheigue Inshore Rescue Service, Ballyheigue CRBI, a declared resource available to the Coast Guard, is not presently a unit of the Coast Guard. Initial discussions have taken place in recent years with a view to a merger between the 'search only' Glenderry Coast Guard unit and Ballyheigue inshore rescue. My understanding is that there is a difficulty with the title of the building occupied by Ballyheigue Inshore Rescue, and until the title is regularised, a merger cannot be progressed.

Road Projects Status

Ceisteanna (619)

Jackie Cahill

Ceist:

619. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the position regarding a project (details supplied); the budget that has been allocated for the project; the dates for the planned completion of each stage of the project; the date for the planned completion of the project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9560/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads in its area is a statutory function of local authorities in accordance with the provisions of section 13 of the Roads Act, 1993.  Works on such roads are a matter for the relevant local authority to be funded from its own resources supplemented by State road grants.  The initial selection and prioritisation of projects to be funded from these monies is a matter for each local authority. 

The national development plan does note that local authorities have plans the progress a range of projects on regional and local roads over the period of the plan and includes examples of such projects.  My Department will be liaising with local authorities in relation to possible future projects for development in the post 2021 period and the appraisal requirements in relation to such projects.

Noise Pollution

Ceisteanna (620)

Seán Haughey

Ceist:

620. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he has satisfied himself that Fingal county council has the capacity to monitor aircraft noise; if the local authority will have a briefing for persons living outside the Fingal area; the reason the Environmental Protection Agency was not selected for this role; if other local authorities will also be selected to monitor aircraft noise; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9576/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As the Deputy is aware, the State is required to appoint an airport noise regulator under EU Regulation 598/2014.  In Ireland, only Dublin Airport is large enough to fall subject to the regulation.

As I have previously explained in the Dáil, an earlier proposal to appoint the Irish Aviation Authority as the noise regulator ultimately ran up against legal advices, which made it impractical.  Therefore, an alternative had to be found.  Following discussions between my Department, the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government and the Department of Communications, Climate Change and Environment, it was agreed that on balance - and having regard to the requirements of the EU Regulation - that Fingal County Council offered the best way forward. 

Fingal already has responsibilities under an EU environmental noise directive which encapsulates responsibilities relating to noise caused by conurbations and major transport infrastructures including roads, railways and airports.  In addition, having regard to its planning functions, it has considerable experience and expertise in the conduct of environmental impact assessments, appropriate assessments and in managing extensive public consultations.  There are therefore synergies arising from the assignment of this additional role.  The regulatory function will reside with Fingal County Council only, but in carrying out its role it will clearly have to have regard to aircraft noise related to traffic at Dublin Airport beyond the confines of its own local authority area.  It will be a matter for Fingal to determine how best to do this. 

The Government recently approved my proposal to designate Fingal County Council as the noise regulator for Dublin Airport with An Bord Pleanála as the appeals body and the full details of how the regulation will be implemented, including the role and responsibilities of Fingal County Council as well as any public consultation requirements, will be set out in primary legislation.

It is true that Fingal will have to build some additional expert capacity - that requirement would arise no matter what body this role is assigned to  - and the draft legislation will provide for additional funding to provide for this.

My Department has just commenced drafting Heads of a Bill and it is my intention to have this legislation enacted by the end of the year.

Roadworthiness Testing

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

Ceisteanna (621)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

621. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if a matter (details supplied) will be addressed regarding VTN tests; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9578/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The SI in question will have no effect on the actual roadworthiness test and only states the period of testing, i.e., every two years once vehicles are over 30 years old and then exempting vehicles once they reach 40 years old. My Department officials are currently working on replacing the revoked SI as soon as possible.

In relation to the question of testing vehicles under the Road Safety Authority Act 2006 (Conferral of Functions) Order 2006 (S.I. No. 477 of 2006), the Road Safety Authority (RSA) has responsibility for the operation, oversight, development, quality assurance and delivery of commercial vehicle roadworthiness testing arrangements. I have therefore forwarded this question to the RSA for direct reply to the Deputy. I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a response has not been received within ten days.

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

Road Projects Expenditure

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

Ceisteanna (622)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

622. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the amount spent to date on a road (details supplied); and the deliberations that have taken place between his officials and officials from a local authority on the progression of the road. [9593/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme.  The planning, design and implementation of individual road projects  is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.   Within its capital budget, the assessment and prioritisation of individual projects is a matter in the first instance for TII in accordance with Section 19 of the Roads Act.

Noting the above position, I have referred the Deputy's question to TII for direct 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.

Light Rail Projects

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

Ceisteanna (623, 624, 625, 626, 627)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

623. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the details of the Project Ireland 2040 plan regarding the provision of a Luas line to Finglas and associated issues. [9594/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Robert Troy

Ceist:

624. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if the capital plan funds the construction of the Luas line to Finglas; if not, if it only funds the design of this project; and the timeframe for completion of the project. [9595/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Robert Troy

Ceist:

625. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if the Luas to Finglas has been prioritised above the other post 2027 Luas projects; and if it will be the first line constructed. [9596/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Robert Troy

Ceist:

626. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the timeframe for completion of the Luas line to Finglas; and if the line will be operational by 2029. [9597/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Robert Troy

Ceist:

627. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if there will be park and ride facilities provided at the new Finglas Luas station; and his plans to construct park and ride facilities at Broombridge. [9598/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 623 to 627, inclusive, together.

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, including the light rail network.

The NTA's transport strategy for the GDA 2016-2035 includes a number of proposals to further develop the light rail network including the extension of the Luas green line to Finglas.

Building on the success of Government’s continued investment in building capacity and expanding the Luas network, the national development plan, NDP, will provide funding to undertake appraisal, planning and design of Luas network expansion to Finglas and also Bray, Lucan and Poolbeg. This is to ensure that we will be ready to expand Luas to where and when it is needed in line with sustained development in these areas.

In relation to the provision of new park and ride facilities, the NDP also provides investment for a park-and-ride programme of strategic park and ride sites and investment in parking facilities at rail, Luas and bus locations.

Given the NTA’s responsibility in the matter I have referred the Deputy’s question to the NTA for an update on the issue of park and ride specifically at Broombridge station.

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