I propose to take Questions Nos. 1242 to 1255, inclusive, together.
As the Deputy is aware, Budget 2018 provided a four-year enhanced capital envelope for public transport of over €2.7 billion to 2021 including funding of over €400 million for investment in public transport in 2018. As I announced at the time of Budget 2018, this increased funding will allow roll out of a number of key programmes to address congestion and emerging capacity constraints on our public transport system across our cities. It includes:
- investment of more than €750m for the BusConnects programme - a transformative investment to enhance and expand the bus network, improving bus access through and around the Capital, and including designated segregated cycle lanes.
- over €110 million for new urban cycling and walking routes in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA), and in Galway, Limerick, Cork and Waterford Cities areas, which will provide additional sustainable travel options to complement increased capacity and faster, higher quality public transport in our main cities.
- over €220 million capital investment in additional heavy rail infrastructure between now and 2021. This will deliver: the City Centre Re-signalling Project to improve speeds on mainline rail; a new rail Central Traffic Control Centre; progress on the DART Expansion Programme to include increase rail fleet and further progress on electrification of both the Northern rail line to Balbriggan and the Maynooth line.
- funding of almost €460 million investment in light rail for additional Luas capacity - with additional trams and longer trams across the Luas network - and to progress the Metro Link, with construction work starting on the project in 2021, and passenger services commencing in 2027.
- investment in maintenance and safety projects to maintain safety and service levels in railway operations of our national railway system.
- multi-annual funding of almost €30 million over the next four years to continue the programme of retro-fitting older, existing public transport facilities to improve their accessibility features. This effectively triples the previously planned investment amount.
- funding in the region of €130 million over the next four years for traffic management, bus priority and other smarter travel projects in our cities.
- €35 million to back new ideas that will help decarbonise the transport sector, including pilot initiatives for low emission technologies. This is complemented by the investing of €15 million in lower energy lighting on national roads.
Building on the enhanced 4-year capital allocations to Departments announced last October as part of Budget 2018, more recently we have now published the new National Development Plan (NDP) which will run from 2018 to 2027. It sets out how the State's overall capital investment of €116 billion for the lifetime of the NDP is being allocated on a thematic basis across all ten of the National Strategic Objectives (NSOs) that are identified in the National Planning Framework (NPF). The NDP sets out Strategic Investment Priorities and indicates some of the specific investments which have been identified by the relevant Departments, including my own, as central to the delivery of the NPF vision. The NDP is a 10-year investment plan and it recognises that there are different planning and delivery horizons applying to different types of capital expenditure depending, for example, on whether they involve the construction or development of major new infrastructure, the purchase of new capital assets, protecting the quality and value of existing infrastructure, or providing a programme of capital grants.
The NDP will enable extensive investment across Ireland's transport sector, supporting and will support the overall development of an integrated and sustainable national public transport system. Investment priorities to be delivered over the full lifetime of the NDP include the following:
- delivery of the BusConnects programme,
- provision of additional capacity on the Luas Green Line;
- construction and opening of the new MetroLink;
- delivery of priority elements of the DART Expansion Programme, including investment in new train fleet, and extended electrification;
- investment to protect the quality and value of the existing rail network and to support safety and service levels;
- investment in strategic park and ride sites including investment in expanding existing parking facilities at rail and Luas locations;
- completing construction of the National Train Control Centre and the city centre resignalling project;
- supporting programmes of railway and bus station improvement/development;
- passenger information programmes;
- accessibility enhancements;
- smarter travel projects along with new urban walking and cycling routes; and
- the appraisal, planning and design of LUAS network expansions to ensure readiness when and where extensions are needed.
It is worth noting that as part of the annual Estimates process, the multi-annual capital allocations for Government Departments under the NDP will be reviewed and extended annually on a rolling basis to cover the coming 5-year period. This will provide Government with an annual opportunity to review the allocations in light of any implementation issues arising and/or new priorities which may emerge as the NDP is implemented.
The NDP also commits to a full mid-term review of the Plan in 2022, to allow Government to take stock of progress in terms of delivery of the planned projects and programmes, and to allow Government to review and reaffirm its investment priorities. It is envisaged that the review will be carried out in order to prepare and publish a new updated 10-year plan for public capital investment in 2023, covering the period 2023 to 2032.
As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. The National Transport Authority (NTA) - working with the other relevant State bodies - is responsible in the main for ensuring the planning and delivery of the public transport infrastructure priorities. Therefore, in light of the NTA’s role, I have forwarded the Deputy’s questions to the NTA for further response.