I can assure the Deputy that I am acutely aware of the importance of investing in improved cycling infrastructure and the benefits which can accrue from such investment in terms of increasing modal shift, alleviating congestion, lowering transport-related carbon emissions and, indeed, contributing toward the improved health of citizens generally.
Project Ireland 2040 provides an indicative allocation of €8.6billion toward National Strategic Outcome 4: Sustainable Mobility and outlines our intention to, among other things, deliver a comprehensive cycling and walking network in all our major cities.
Delivery of this network will be assisted through the funding to be provided over the period 2018 to 2021 which is summarised below:
- €110 million specifically dedicated to cycling and walking infrastructure in our major urban areas;
- €135 million for sustainable urban transport measures;
- €750 million approximately towards the BusConnects programme in Dublin which will include the delivery of around 200 kilometres of segregated cycling lanes, where possible; and
- €53 million to support the development of new Greenways.
In addition to the above, Government has also made additional money available for cycling projects through both the Urban and Rural Regeneration and Development Funds which form part of Project Ireland 2040.
Expenditure of public money is of course subject to the requirements of the Public Spending Code which sets out the appraisals required dependent upon the level of expenditure envisaged in the case of individual projects.
The measures I have outlined above, form part of our transition to a low-carbon and climate resilient society as outlined in National Strategic Outcome 8 of Project Ireland 2040. It goes without saying that cycling as a mode of transport is environmentally friendly and increasing its mode share is of course an ambition of Government and in that regard I welcome the increasing popularity of cycling as a mode of transport.
I am delighted to say that the increased levels of funding Government is making available in 2019 will facilitate the commencement of construction of a number of significant cycling projects in both the Greater Dublin Area and beyond, which will be of great benefit to all once completed and will encourage more people to choose cycling as their preferred mode of transport.