Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Ceisteanna (54)

Gino Kenny


54. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if increased funding will be expedited for public transport and cycling infrastructure in the mid-western areas of Dublin, particularly areas adjacent to and in proximity of the M50, in order to mitigate levels of nitrogen dioxide that exceed the EU limit which has been recorded by Traffic Infrastructure Ireland at various locations in the area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39690/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I am of course committed toward improving sustainability mobility options in all areas of the country, including within the Deputy’s particular constituency.

Heavily trafficked roads, such as the M50, can record higher levels of nitrogen dioxide, although the Deputy will know from the report that the highest levels are found within 10 metres of the motorway’s edge. Levels further than that distance typically fall back to within “background concentration” level.

Notwithstanding that important clarification, I am clear that we need to increase not just the sustainable options available, but also the numbers of people choosing to use those options too.

I am glad to say that Project Ireland 2040 provides for a significantly enhanced investment programme with measures to be funded in the short, medium and longer term.

In the short term, we have increased funding to support expanded bus and rail services throughout Dublin Mid-West, like for example the extra bus services in the Lucan area earlier this year or the increase in trains now serving Clondalkin-Fonthill and taking the Phoenix Park tunnel into the city centre. I have no doubt the Deputy has noticed a number of hybrid buses which Dublin Bus are now operating in the area as part of a trial and that is also very welcome. These improvements and expansions are resulting in increased levels of patronage and that's obviously important.

In the medium term we are rolling out BusConnects which will massively improve the bus infrastructure and active travel infrastructure in the area and result in much improved services. It will also mean we switch the entire bus fleet toward lower emission technologies and I have no doubt the Deputy supports the roll out of that programme as quickly as I do. On rail we are funding the electrification of the existing rail line in Dublin Mid-West as part of the DART Expansion Programme.

And we are planning for the longer term too through the funding of the appraisal, planning and design of a new Luas line right through the Deputy’s constituency.

I look forward to the Deputy’s continued support on the ground in relation to all of these improvements as we look to deliver improved and expanded public transport and active travel infrastructure across Dublin Mid-West.