Services for People with Disabilities

Ceisteanna (219, 220, 221, 222, 223, 230)

Imelda Munster

Ceist:

219. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if costing will be provided for accessibility works to bus stations nationwide. [27060/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Imelda Munster

Ceist:

220. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if costing will be provided for accessibility works to railway stations nationwide. [27061/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Imelda Munster

Ceist:

221. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if costing will be provided for the construction of wheelchair accessible bus stops as required nationwide. [27062/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Imelda Munster

Ceist:

222. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if costing will be provided for the replacement of non-wheelchair accessible vehicles for Bus Éireann. [27063/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Imelda Munster

Ceist:

223. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if costing will be provided for accessibility works to the rail train fleet. [27064/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Imelda Munster

Ceist:

230. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the allocation in 2018 and 2019 for investment in making public transport accessible for wheelchair users; and the spend in 2018 and to date in 2019, by category (details supplied). [27071/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 219 to 223, inclusive, and 230 together.

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport.

Under the Dublin Transport Authority Act 2008, the National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for promoting the development of an integrated, accessible public transport network.

In light of the NTA's responsibilities in this matter, I have forwarded your questions to the NTA for direct reply to you. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.

Services for People with Disabilities

Ceisteanna (224)

Imelda Munster

Ceist:

224. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if costing will be provided for the conversion of the taxi and hackney fleet to a fully wheelchair accessible fleet. [27065/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The regulation of the small public service vehicle (SPSV) industry, including wheelchair accessible taxis and wheelchair accessible hackneys, is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) under the provisions of the Taxi Regulation Act 2013.

Accordingly, I have referred your question to the NTA for direct reply to you. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within 10 working days.

Northern Ireland

Ceisteanna (225)

Imelda Munster

Ceist:

225. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if costing will be provided for the St. Andrews Agreement commitment to co-fund the construction of the A5 to Derry. [27066/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The planning and implementation of the A5 upgrade project is the responsibility of the Northern Ireland authorities.

The current funding arrangements in relation to the A5 are governed by the Stormont House Agreement and Implementation Plan - A Fresh Start. Under this Agreement the Government is committed to provide funding of £75 million (sterling) towards the cost of Phase 1a of the A5 upgrade scheme. The aim of this commitment is to facilitate the delivery of this phase of the scheme as soon as possible once the planning process in Northern Ireland is concluded.

Roads Maintenance Funding

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

Ceisteanna (226, 233, 234)

Imelda Munster

Ceist:

226. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the 2019 budget allocation to investment in regional and local roads; and the estimated cost of increasing this figure by 5%. [27067/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Imelda Munster

Ceist:

233. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the categories of allocated funding for roads (details supplied); and the funding allocated under each of the categories in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019. [27074/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Imelda Munster

Ceist:

234. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the spend on regional and local road funding for 2018 and to date in 2019; and the spend on maintenance, upgrades, new roads and other relevant spending headings relating to regional and local roads. [27075/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 226, 233 and 234 together.

The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of the relevant local authority in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on those roads are funded from the Council's own resources supplemented by State road grants. Details of the regional and local road grant allocations and payments to local authorities are outlined in the regional and local road grant booklets which are available in the Oireachtas Library.

The tables included in the payment and allocation booklets outline expenditure by type of grant programme. The total investment in regional and local roads this year is €483.4 million and the estimated cost of increasing this by 5% is €24.2 million. For the Deputy's information an explanation of the purpose of the main Regional and Local Road Grant Programmes is set out below, along with a table showing spend to date in 2019 in these grant categories:

Restoration Maintenance (RM): The purpose of the RM grant is to protect the structural integrity of the road by way of surface dressing through the sealing of the road surface. The purpose of restoration maintenance is to maintain the asset before it requires improvement.

Restoration Improvement Grant (RI): The RI grant programme is the main road strengthening programme and caters for surface restoration, pavement overlay works, complete road rehabilitation works and for drainage works where required.

Discretionary Grant (DG): Councils have discretion in spending these grants for improvement and maintenance works subject to selecting from a list of eligible works. However Councils are requested to prioritise projects which involve strengthening works, remedying road defects, winter maintenance and drainage works.

Bridge Rehabilitation (BR): This programme allows local authorities to apply for monies to undertake bridge rehabilitation works.

Safety Improvement Works (BS) : This programme allows local authorities to apply for monies to undertake safety improvement works.

Community Involvement Scheme (CIS): The programme facilitates community involvement in repair and improvement of roads.

Drainage Programme: The purpose of this grant is to promote network resilience.

A pilot scheme has been implemented to provide assistance to local authorities specifically for the maintenance of Former National (FN) roads.

Specific Grant and Strategic Grants: The Department no longer seeks annual applications from local authorities in respect of the Specific (road improvement schemes costing up to €5m.) and Strategic (improvement schemes costing over €5m.) grant programmes. Instead it considers projects on a case by case basis taking into account the availability of funding and the outcome of project appraisals.

Severe Weather: Arising from a commitment made regarding flood damage to RLR in Donegal in 2017, provision is being made to meet outstanding repair costs.

Grant Category

2019 Spend to Date €

Restoration Improvement

34,289,605

Restoration Maintenance

3,736,545

Supplementary RM

346,743

Bridge Rehabilitation

1,033,425

Safety Improvement Works

396,697

Community Involvement Scheme

1,639,893

Discretionary Grant

38,289,506

Drainage Works

2,623,842

Former National Roads

3,226

Specific Improvement Grants

1,685,817

Strategic RLR Grants

13,677,642

Severe Weather

574,596

As regards national roads, within its annual budget, allocations to individual local authorities is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII). I have, therefore, referred the Deputy's Questions to TII for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you don't receive a reply within 10 working days.

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

Iarnród Éireann Funding

Ceisteanna (227)

Imelda Munster

Ceist:

227. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the 2019 capital budget allocation to Iarnród Éireann. [27068/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Project Ireland 2040 states that the priority funding objective in relation to mainline rail is the maintenance and renewal of the existing network so that it continues to provide a safe and reliable infrastructure that enables the provision of quality rail services for passengers across the country. This means ensuring ‘steady state’ levels of investment in our rail infrastructure each year for the foreseeable future and requires a significant and recurring capital investment of approximately €200 million from the taxpayer every year.

As the Deputy is aware, the Infrastructure Manager Multi-Annual Contract (or IMMAC) provides the funding framework for the maintenance and renewal of our railway infrastructure and is a statutory contractual agreement between the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport and Iarnród Éireann.

I can inform the Deputy that the increases I secured in Budget 2019 mean that the Exchequer contribution to the IMMAC has increased this year to €197 million, thus ensuring that the steady state funding requirement (as measured on an annualised basis) is met for 2019.

This represents significant, and very welcome, progress in terms of the overall funding of the network and means that funding for the IMMAC as increased by 23% as compared with 2018.

Separately, capital funding is also provided to Iarnród Eireann through the National Transport Authority (NTA) as part of the heavy rail enhancement programme. This programme supports projects such as the continued planning and design of the DART Expansion Programme, the City Centre Resignalling Project, the replacement of the roof at Pearse Station, the development of the new National Train Control Centre and various other enhancement projects.

As this funding programme is managed by the NTA, I have referred the Deputy's question to it for direct reply, please inform my private office if you do you receive a reply within 10 days.

Cycling Facilities Funding

Ceisteanna (228)

Imelda Munster

Ceist:

228. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the spend to date on the development of cycling infrastructure. [27069/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As the Deputy may be aware I have secured significant improved funding allocations over the period 2018-2021 which will benefit and protect both cyclists and walkers.

These improved allocations over this period include:

- €110 million specifically dedicated to cycling and walking infrastructure in our major urban areas;

- €135 million for sustainable urban transport measures;

- €750 million 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 under the National Development Plan.

Capital investment plans, such as those I have described that are now in place for supporting cycling and active travel, are funded as part of a multi-annual capital funding programme. The timing of expenditure on these programmes is dependent on a number of variables and in-year monthly or quarterly expenditure must be viewed within that context. Each year the majority of funding is drawndown toward the year end and overall reporting on programme expenditure is then made available through the Department's publicly available annual Appropriation Accounts and related reports to, and appearances before, the Oireachtas.

Road Projects Status

Question No. 230 answered with Question No. 219.

Ceisteanna (229)

Imelda Munster

Ceist:

229. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of progress on the port access northern cross-route, Drogheda; if estimated costings for the delivery of the project can be provided; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27070/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads in Co. Louth is the statutory responsibility of Louth County Council, in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on those roads are funded from local authorities' own resources supplemented by State road grants. The initial selection and prioritisation of works to be funded is also a matter for the local authority. My Department has no grant application on hand in relation to the proposed Drogheda Northern Cross Port Access road.

Given the cutbacks in State funding for regional and local roads since the financial crisis, it has been necessary to curtail the grant programme for major new regional and local road schemes and for major realignment schemes in order to protect the funding available for the maintenance of the existing network. The bulk of the funding allocated under Project Ireland 2040 is, therefore, earmarked for the maintenance and renewal of the road network with some limited investment in the new projects.

Question No. 230 answered with Question No. 219.

Road Projects Status

Ceisteanna (231)

Imelda Munster

Ceist:

231. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the allocation for 2019 for the Narrow Water Bridge project. [27072/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The Fresh Start Agreement includes a commitment to undertake a review of the proposed Narrow Water Bridge project with a view to identifying options for its future development. Work is continuing, under the aegis of the North/South Senior Officials Group, on the examination of options with a view to their consideration by the North South Ministerial Council (NSMC) when that body is reconvened.

Pending future decisions on the project, there is no specific allocation of funding for a Narrow Water Bridge scheme.

Tourism Funding

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

Questions Nos. 233 and 234 answered with Question No. 226.

Ceisteanna (232)

Imelda Munster

Ceist:

232. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the allocation in each of the years 2014 to 2019 to Fáilte Ireland; if specific funding is provided for tourism to local authorities or other agencies; and if so, the spend on those projects in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019. [27073/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Details (at subhead level) of the annual funding allocations provided by my Department to Fáilte Ireland are available in the annual Revised Estimates Volume published by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. The subheads of relevance to Fáilte Ireland are E3, E6 and E5 (shared with Tourism Ireland) and further detail is available in the Agency Statement for Fáilte Ireland in the Revised Estimates Volumes. I have referred the Deputy's question to Fáilte Ireland for further detail in regard to funding provided by Fáilte Ireland to local authorities or other agencies. Please contact my private office if you do not hear within ten working days.

My Department does not provide specific tourism funding to local authorities or other agencies other than funding for the development of Greenways, allocations for which are set in the annual Revised Estimates Volume.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A
Questions Nos. 233 and 234 answered with Question No. 226.