My Department’s priorities for the transport sector, within the capital envelope available to it, are:
1. To maintain the existing extensive transport networks so as to ensure quality levels of service, accessibility and connectivity to transport users.
2. To develop infrastructure and service provision as envisaged under Project Ireland 2040 with a view to meeting the needs of the 2040 population by tackling urban congestion and improving connectivity to the regions, key international ports and airports.
In terms of investment policy in this area, my priority is the delivery of the significant projects and programmes committed to within Project Ireland 2040, such as -
- The BusConnects programme of improved bus services and infrastructure in all major cities, including significantly enhanced cycling facilities also;
- The MetroLink;
- The DART Expansion programme;
- The delivery of the M20 connecting Cork and Limerick cities;
- The Accessibility Retro-fit programme.
These projects and programmes will be complemented by other planned investments to improve the sustainability of our transport system, such as the significantly enhanced funding allocated toward the heavy rail network nationally, the development of a new National Train Control Centre and the roll-out of strategic cycle networks in the major cities.
In terms of delivery of public transport services my priority is to maintain and ensure implementation of governance oversight arrangements for State bodies in the public transport domain and ensure appropriate funding of services that require public financial support.
In relation to public transport/active travel policy, my priority is to complete a review of existing policy as committed to under the Programme for a Partnership Government. This review is a significant and substantial resource commitment and my Department has commenced and substantially completed the research and analysis required to inform the proposed period of public consultation which I expect to launch in the near future.
The specific priorities in the roads sector continue to be:
(i) Maintenance of the national, regional and local road network in good condition;
(ii) Advancement to construction stage, subject to necessary approvals, of the important national and regional road improvement projects identified in the National Development Plan 2018-2027; and
(iii) The appraisal of a range of other projects with a view prioritising projects for future development.
- In relation to Brexit, to ensure continued connectivity with the UK for Irish road haulage and road passenger transport operators. As well as contingency planning for Brexit, the other key policy priority for the maritime sector is continue the implementation of the National Ports Policy.
- In the aviation sector the policy priorities are:
- Contingency planning for UK withdrawal from the single aviation market; in particular for a “no-deal” scenario.
- Capacity of State Airports (incl. Dublin Airport North Runway and Capital Investment Programme, as well as long term future capacity needs).
- Enactment of the Aircraft Noise (Dublin Airport) Regulation Bill 2018.