Sustainable mobility clearly has an important role to play if we are to reduce congestion, lower climate-harmful emissions, and improve air quality. In the recently published Climate Action Plan 2019 this Government has committed toward an additional 500,000 daily journeys by 2035 being made by sustainable modes as compared to today.
To support that ambition, I have secured significant increases in funding which will deliver improved and expanded sustainable transport networks.
The Deputy will welcome the fact that Project Ireland 2040 provides indicative allocations toward sustainable mobility measures which are well above what we will be investing in new roads over the period. This rebalancing of investment priorities is a reversal of the balance of investment between these two areas in the past and is very much welcome.
Active travel, both walking and cycling, have an important role to play, particularly in our larger urban areas, in supporting the shift toward sustainable mobility and the increased funding being made available will support people’s choice in making the shift.
This increased funding is significant and over the period 2018 to 2021 amounts to approximately:
- €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.
This year alone a number of important active travel projects are under construction or scheduled to start construction and I am keenly aware of the need to ensure timely delivery of new infrastructure to facilitate ever greater numbers of people making active travel part of their daily lives. As stated in the Climate Action Plan the National Transport Authority will later this year establish a new Office within its organisation to work with local authorities in making sure that the increased investment now available results in increased activity on the ground.
At a policy level I will shortly launch a public consultation in relation to our current public transport and active travel policy and this consultation will inform the development of a new policy statement which will then provide the policy backdrop for the years ahead. I look forward to the Deputy's engagement in this review and hearing his views on what measures should be considered.