Tourism Industry

Ceisteanna (77)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

77. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if specific assistance will be provided for the tourism and hospitality sector in the Border region due to the difficulties that will arise from Brexit and the heavy dependence of the region on business from Northern Ireland and the UK; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39877/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The Government's Brexit Contingency Action Plan Update was published on 9 July. It is the Government's assessment that there is a significant risk of a no deal Brexit on 31 October and accordingly work on no deal Brexit preparations continue to have the highest priority across Government Departments and Agencies.

There is a high degree of uncertainty in forecasting the macroeconomic impact of a no deal Brexit. However it is clear that the impacts would be very damaging. The Contingency Plan Update confirms that in parallel to the predicted macroeconomic impacts, a no deal Brexit will have severe negative effects in a number of sectors and will be widely felt on a regional basis. The impacts will be felt most notably in many exporting sectors including tourism.

In 2019 the Government allocated almost €8 million in additional funding to the tourism agencies specifically to respond to the impact of Brexit. Tourism Ireland has put in place a programme of marketing activity, post-Brexit research, and stakeholder information to ensure that potential visitors in relevant markets fully appreciate that it is "business as usual" for Ireland and the Irish tourism industry. It is also implementing a market strategy for growth in the British market.

Fáilte Ireland is supporting tourism enterprises to respond to the impact of Brexit. The ‘Get Brexit Ready’ programme is helping businesses to assess the risk and respond to changes and will also assist the sector in diversifying into other markets. Fáilte Ireland’s work is focusing primarily on border counties and the South East region which have been most adversely affected by the drop in the value of sterling.

The Budget allocation for 2020 is subject to the annual estimates discussions and my Department, in engaging with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, is highlighting the exposure of tourism to a no deal Brexit.

Road Projects

Ceisteanna (78)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

78. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if key road infrastructure projects will be prioritised for investment in 2020 such as the proposed east to west route, namely, the road from Cootehill, Shercock, Carrickmacross and Dundalk, in view of the particular challenges facing the Border region due to Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39876/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As the Deputy is aware, the improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of local authorities, 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. The initial selection and prioritisation of works to be funded is also a matter for the local authority.

This year I gave an allocation of €100,000 to Cavan County Council to enable the Council to undertake a detailed project appraisal, in line with the current requirements in the Public Spending Code and the Capital Investment Framework, of the Cavan to Dundalk section of the proposed east-west route. The aim of this appraisal would be to assess the extent to which the scheme or elements of it can be justified in terms of appraisal and advanced for further consideration in relation to schemes for future development. Preparation of the appraisal is the responsibility of the Council.

Allocations for 2020 will not be decided on, or issued until early 2020.

Bus Services

Question No. 80 answered with Question No. 72.

Ceisteanna (79)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

79. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of the roll-out of the LocalLink bus service in counties Cavan and Monaghan; the supports his Department is providing to the initiative; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39714/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

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

The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for securing the provision of public transport services nationally. It also has national responsibility for integrated local and rural transport, including management of the Rural Transport Programme which now operates under the 'Local Link' brand.

In light of the NTA's responsibilities in this matter, 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.

Question No. 80 answered with Question No. 72.

Rail Network

Ceisteanna (81)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

81. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if funding will be allocated to allow widening of a railway bridge (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39909/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding of public transport. The operation of the rail network and stations on the network including the development of infrastructure, is a matter for Iarnród Éireann in the first instance.

In view of Iarnród Éireann's responsibility in this matter, I have referred the Deputy's question to the company for direct reply. Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

Brexit Issues

Ceisteanna (82)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

82. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the extent to which alternative transport routes have been identified and provided in the aftermath of Brexit in order to ensure that Irish importers and exporters can circumnavigate the UK in order to provide reliable routes to mainland Europe; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39955/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Brexit has been identified as my Department’s highest strategic risk and the Department, along with other Government Departments and key Agencies, has been preparing for Brexit for three years. Consultations regarding Brexit with key maritime stakeholders has included a Transport and Logistics All Island Sectoral meeting in Dundalk in January 2017, three Brexit Maritime Transport Workshops / Seminars (in April 2017, March 2018, and in January 2019) with a further Brexit Maritime Connectivity ‘Be prepared’ Workshop held on 4th September 2019, together with on going contact with various stakeholders.

A significant proportion of our goods destined for Continental European markets are transported via the UK landbridge to access these markets. Brexit could impact on the efficiency of the landbridge route particularly where there are increased border and custom procedures and associated delays, or were the UK to subsequently apply differing standards, road charging or regulatory regimes. The landbridge is the fastest route to continental Europe and as such is relied upon for the transport of time-sensitive products, such as some in the fresh agri-food/perishable goods sector, just-in-time and high value goods. Any delays or barriers to this key route to European markets will be detrimental for certain sectors. Significant work has been and continues to be undertaken through the Landbridge Project Group, chaired by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, in seeking to ensure continued access through the landbridge to markets in continental Europe.

Eight Meetings have been held with shipping companies and shipping interests by my Department and the IMDO in January and February 2019. These discussions with shipping companies have been continued by my Department since then, up to recent days, while the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) who report to my Department have been consulting extensively with the Maritime sector, including shipping, port and other maritime interests regarding Brexit issues on an ongoing basis. A number of consistent views has emerged from the meetings and consultations with the shipping companies. Shipping companies remain confident that the market will be responsive in meeting any challenge in a no-deal scenario should there be a switch in demand to direct services.

In the context of Brexit, there has already been a significant market response evidencing the capacity of market participants to respond to shifts in trade patterns resulting from Brexit. This includes:

- In 2018, CLdN lauched MV Celine, the world’s largest RoRo vessel, and in 2019 launched the MV Laureline RoRo vessel, significantly increasing capacity on the Dublin-Rotterdam and Dublin-Zeebrugge routes.

- In May 2018 Brittany Ferries commenced a service from Cork to Santander and Roscoff.

- Irish Ferries investment of €150 million in its newest passenger and freight vessel, MV W.B. Yeats, provides year-round freight capacity between Ireland and France of 165 HGVs per sailing or 60,600 HGVs per annum and a vessel of a similar size is due to be delivered on the Irish sea routes in 2020. - In July 2019, BG Freight Line announced the commencement of a direct Waterford-Rotterdam route weekly Lo/Lo freight service, which will act as a deep sea feeder through Rotterdam port and onwards to worldwide destinations for Irish importers and exporters.

I am confident in the light of my Department’s consultation with shipping companies, and the previous responses of shipping operators, that shipping services can be expected to adapt to changing market demands that may arise as a consequence of Brexit and we have seen the evidence of this over the last few years with the increase in shipping capacity on direct routes to continental ports that I have mentioned.

Public Transport

Ceisteanna (83)

Brendan Ryan

Ceist:

83. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of the MetroLink project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39944/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for the planning and development of public transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area, including the MetroLink project

Noting the NTA's responsibility in the matter, I have referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for a direct reply. Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 days.

Public Transport

Ceisteanna (84)

Marc MacSharry

Ceist:

84. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he has considered establishing a transport security unit to tackle widespread and dangerous antisocial behaviour on public transport and at public transport hubs. [39771/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The safety and security of public transport passengers and staff, including arrangements to deal with anti-social behaviour, are important matters that, first and foremost, must be managed by every public transport company, in conjunction with An Garda Síochána, where appropriate.

While the vast majority of public transport passenger journeys occur without incident, I am concerned to ensure that the necessary arrangements are in place to ensure the safety of all passengers and staff.

Following representations from the National Bus and Rail Union, my Department wrote to the three CIÉ companies to get their views on the issue of anti-social behaviour and ensuring the safety of both passengers and staff. All companies stressed their strong and close working relationships with An Garda Síochána.

I also wrote to the Minister for Justice and Equality to seek his views on how we could address the issue of anti-social behaviour on our public transport system. The allocation of all Garda resources, including the manner in which Garda personnel are deployed, is solely a decision for the Garda Commissioner and his management team.

I understand that An Garda Síochána met with the Railway Safety Advisory Council (RSAC) in relation to the issue of anti-social behaviour on our public transport network and that further engagement and initiatives are planned. Following that engagement, I note and welcome the recent deployment of gardaí to public transport locations and to DART, Luas and commuter rail services under ‘Operation Twintrack’.

Irish Rail has advised that it has undertaken a range of measures and proposes further measures to address anti-social behaviour on the rail network, including increased security personnel, allowing for a doubling of security patrols, the introduction of Customer Service Officers on all Intercity routes and enhanced CCTV coverage.

A new text alert service has also been introduced to enable customers to discretely report anti-social behaviour incidents and allow security personnel and/or Gardaí to be alerted and dispatched as required to an incident. The entire Intercity fleet is also equipped with CCTV and with communications buttons at doors.

Iarnród Éireann's annual spend on security has risen from €4.1 million in 2017 to €4.5 million in 2018 and it is projected by the company that its spend on security will rise again this year to €4.7 million.

Both Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann have reported that the level of anti-social behaviour is relatively low on their services and noted a declining trend, which is positive. Following a recent serious incident at Busáras, Bus Éireann has introduced more stringent security measures at the station with a view to combatting increased levels of anti-social behaviour at the site.

Road Safety

Ceisteanna (85)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

85. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will report on the improvements of the Road Safety Authority for the processing of court information on drivers disqualified in court; the average length of time for the national vehicle drivers’ file to be updated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39751/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Insofar as the Road Safety Authority is concerned, this is an operational matter, and I have referred it to the Authority for direct reply. I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a response has not been received within ten days.

Primarily this programme will automate the current manual process for sending notification of driver disqualifications by the Court Services. Automation of this process will reduce the time taken to update my Department's National Vehicle Driver File (NVDF) with details of driver disqualifications and will ensure accurate and current records on the status of a driver on the NVDF. This reduction in time will reduce the risk of disqualified drivers obtaining licences because the National Driver Licencing Service (NDLS) were unaware of a disqualification. It will also help reduce any errors due to manual updating of disqualification notifications and driver records.

Driver Licences

Ceisteanna (86)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

86. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if a progress report will be provided on the extension of the right of asylum seekers to obtain a driver licence. [39939/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

This matter is still under consideration in consultation with the Minister for Justice and Equality.

Driver Licences

Ceisteanna (87)

Marc MacSharry

Ceist:

87. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he has engaged with his Cabinet colleagues and UK counterparts to ensure that returning emigrants who hold UK licences will continue to be able to swap their licences for an Irish driver licence even in the event of a no-deal Brexit. [39770/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I refer the Deputy to the answer provided in Priority Question No. 1.

Electric Vehicles

Ceisteanna (88)

David Cullinane

Ceist:

88. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views on whether the target of 1,000,000 electric vehicles on the roads by 2030 is a realistic target; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39729/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Driving cars accounts for over half of all land transport emissions, and so a transition to low and zero emission cars is one of the necessary changes if Ireland is to substantially reduce its transport emissions. Accordingly, electric vehicles (EVs) are a prominent mitigation technology in the whole-of Government Climate Action Plan, which sets targets of 180,000 EVs on our roads by 2025, and 936,000 EVs by 2030. Clearly these targets are very challenging, and they are indicative of the scale of transformation that is needed across all sectors if Ireland is to reduce national emissions and reach its legally binding emission ceiling in future years.

It is widely expected that, over the coming years the combination of :

- improvements in technology,

- reductions in vehicle purchase prices,

- increasing driving ranges and model availabilities,

- coupled with Government incentives and new investment in the recharging network,

will maintain the current positive policy environment under which we have seen EV sales rise steeply over the past year, albeit from a low base.

In addition, car manufacturers will be stepping up production of EVs in the coming years due to an EU Regulation that sets production benchmarks for new cars and new vans being zero-emission. This should mean that more vehicles will be available for Irish consumers to purchase. Accordingly, I am confident that we can make real progress towards the target by 2030.

To date, the Government, supported by the Low Emission Vehicle Taskforce, has worked to ensure that conditions and policies are in place to support citizens in making greener vehicle choices. As the Deputy will be aware, several of the principal supports, such as the EV Purchase Grant Scheme, the Domestic Charger Grant and the roll out of an extensive recharging network, fall under the remit of my colleague the Minister of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment. Support from the Minister for Finance has also been fundamental, with EVs now benefiting from favourable motor tax, vehicle registration tax (VRT) and benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax rates. In my role, I am directly responsible for two initiatives supporting EV uptake rates: the Electric Vehicle Toll Incentive Scheme and the Electric Taxi Grant Scheme.

This concerted work across several Departments must continue if we are to accelerate the current trajectory of EV sales. Action 79 of the Climate Action Plan commits my Department to develop a Roadmap on the optimum mix of regulatory, taxation and subsidy policies to drive significant ramp-up in passenger EVs and electric van sales from very early in the next decade; I will convene the relevant Departments before year-end to pursue this aim.

Collectively, I believe that these actions, alongside a supportive environment, will ensure that Ireland is well positioned to make the transition to electrification as efficiently as possible and progress the delivery of our collective ambition for nearly one million EVs by 2030.

Road Projects

Ceisteanna (89)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

89. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of the Bonagee link road project in County Donegal; when the project will commence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39685/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Firstly, I would like to explain that, as Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. Under the Roads Acts 1993-2015, the planning, design, construction and development stages of individual road projects is a matter for

(a) the relevant road authority (i.e. local authorities) in relation to local and regional roads, or

(b) Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), in conjunction with the local authorities concerned, in relation to national roads.

Overview

The National Development Plan (NDP) provides the strategic and financial framework for the roads programme for the period from 2018 to 2027. In the ten years, over €11 billion will be invested in the overall road network.

The National Development Plan (NDP) identifies two categories of national road improvement projects

The first covers projects to advance to construction, subject to the satisfactory outcome of project appraisal and development consent. The second relates to projects at pre-appraisal and early planning to be assessed, to develop a pipeline of suitable projects. Advancing projects in the second, pipeline. category will be subject to prioritisation within the overall national road programme and funding.

Having consulted with the relevant authorities, I can provide the following information and update to the Deputy on the Bonagee Link Road project, also referred to as the Letterkenny Inner Relief Road.

- In Co. Donegal the Trans European Network-Transport (TEN–T) Comprehensive road network runs from the Leitrim County Boundary (on the outskirts of Bundoran to the Border with Derry in the Northeast at Bridgend, on the outskirts of Derry City, and involves sections of the N13, N14 and N15.

- In 2016 Donegal County Council commissioned a Corridor Needs Study on the TEN-T Comprehensive network within Donegal. The study identified projects to improve the TEN-T Comprehensive network to the required standard under TEN- T regulations. The Study identified a priority list of schemes. It recommended three priority projects to advance:

- N15/N13 Ballybofey – Stranorlar Bypass

- N56/N13/N14 Letterkenny Bypass, and Letterkenny-Manorcunningham Dual Carriageway

- N14 Manorcunningham-Lifford Realignment, including the N14/N15 link to the A5 in Northern Ireland

The Bonagee Link Road, or the Letterkenny Inner Relief Road, forms part of the proposed Letterkenny Bypass.

Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) has provided an allocation of €2.5m in 2019 to Donegal County Council to progress planning work on priority national road improvements projects that were identified in the study on the TEN-T Network I mentioned. These projects are identified as Strategic Investment Priorities in the National Planning Framework (NPF) and the NDP. Under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) 2014-2020 Transport calls for proposals 2019, Donegal County Council applied for funding for the TEN-T project and have recently been successful in their application for funding for planning work under the 2019 call.

Current Status

Feasibility Studies for the priority schemes commenced in 2017 and the route selection process is ongoing. Public consultations on identified route options were held in April and May 2018 in Letterkenny, Lifford and Ballybofey.

An Emerging Preferred Route Corridor for each section has now been identified. Public Consultations on these Emerging Corridors took place in February 2019. A public display of the Stage 3 Preferred Options will be organised for later this year.

It can typically take 8 to 13 years to bring a major project from conception to completion. There is no timeframe fixed yet for completing the Bonagee link road project, as it will need to obtain both Business Case approval and Planning Consent and will be subject to the availability of funding in the future and the of course the necessary approvals.

The specific preferred route selection process is on-going. However, you may wish to note that update information may be available on the project website, http://donegal-ten-t.ie/

Bus Services

Ceisteanna (90)

Brendan Ryan

Ceist:

90. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of the BusConnects proposal for Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39943/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for the planning and development of public transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area, including the BusConnects programme.

Noting the NTA's responsibility in the matter, I have referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for a direct reply. Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 days.

National Convention Centre

Ceisteanna (91)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

91. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views on whether a cultural group (details supplied) that have used a centre is now being precluded from doing so in view of the fact that his Department is the sponsoring Department for the centre. [39764/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The national conference centre, known as the Convention Centre Dublin (CCD), is a Public Private Partnership. Under the terms of the Project Agreement, the Office of Public Works (OPW) acts as "the Authority" on behalf of the Government and a private company is responsible for managing and operating the centre. Under the agreement, any issues relating to use of the premises are properly dealt with by the facility operator.

The primary objective in developing a national conference centre, as set out in the Project Agreement, is to increase Ireland's share of the international conference market, thereby increasing tourism revenues. In light of this objective, my Department is the “sponsoring Department” of the centre. As such, my Department has some responsibilities relating to monitoring and reviewing of the CCD's performance in the context of delivering on overall tourism policy objectives, including motivating large numbers of international conference delegates to visit Dublin and Ireland.

However, my Department has no role or involvement in relation to the CCD's commercial and operational decisions including those relating to programming or commercial bookings.

Bus Services

Ceisteanna (92)

Bríd Smith

Ceist:

92. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to ensure that bus routes operated by private companies and licensed by the NTA but which are not in receipt of PSO funding will be accessible to passengers with mobility issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39898/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

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. It is also the licensing authority for commercial bus services that are not subject to a public transport services contract.

In light of the NTA's responsibilities in this matter, 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.

Olympic Games Funding

Ceisteanna (93)

Jonathan O'Brien

Ceist:

93. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if additional resources will be given to Olympic sports and athletes in advance of Tokyo 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39908/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The Government has made a very significant investment in high performance sport this year, with an additional €1.5m allocated to Sport Ireland in Budget 2019 for high performance programmes in support of preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. This additional funding has enabled Sport Ireland to provide increased allocations to the relevant National Governing Bodies of Sport under its High Performance programme this year.

The additional funding for 2019 follows on from an additional €1.75m allocated for high performance sport in August 2018.

The level of funding allocated to date positions our high performance athletes well as they prepare for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020.

The level of funding to be allocated for sport next year will be part of the Budget 2020 announcement.

Road Network

Question No. 95 answered with Question No. 56.

Question No. 96 answered with Question No. 67.

Ceisteanna (94)

John Lahart

Ceist:

94. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of the introduction of variable speed limits and other demand management measures on the M50; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39748/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Firstly, I would like to explain that, as Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. Under the Roads Acts 1993-2015, the planning, design, construction and development stages of individual national road projects is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.

I fully recognise the demand pressures on the M50.

Enhancing Motorway Operation Services

Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), along with other stakeholders, is continuing to implement a number of measures on the M50 to manage demand and optimise operational efficiency, including:

- enhanced vehicle recovery services;

- establishment of an Interagency Incident Coordination Group;

- changes to merging and diverging layouts at junctions;

- the establishment of signed Emergency Diversion Routes; and

- improved access for incident support and emergency services.

TII has also commenced a project titled ‘enhancing Motorway Operation Services’ which will include, inter alia, Variable Speed Limits and Lane Control Signalling.

Variable Speed Limits

The variable speed limit regime on the M50 will improve the operational efficiency of the motorway by smoothing traffic flow, improving journey time reliability and reducing the number of traffic collisions. Lane control signalling will also be installed as part of the project which will allow the closing off of lanes.

I can advise that my Department is progressing the legislative arrangements that will provide TII with the necessary powers to regulate and operate VSL on motorways. The legislative proposals will be contained in the Road Traffic (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill. A General Scheme of the Bill, including the proposal for variable speed limits, was approved by Government for formal drafting last December, subject to two proposals within the Scheme being examined further in Cabinet Committee. These two proposals - for graduated speeding penalties and the carrying of driving licences - have now been examined in detail at official level and will be considered by Cabinet Committee shortly. Once this process is completed, I hope to see work on drafting the Bill for publication completed, and to publish the Bill before the end of the year.

In the meantime I am advised that, in order to progress this important measure, TII is extending the motorway traffic control centre at Dublin Tunnel to cater for the additional workload from the introduction of VSL and is currently procuring the management systems and hardware for the operation and roll-out of VSL for the M50. All the preparatory technical and logistical frameworks will need to be in place, by TII, before VSL can be introduced and become operational and as I have outlined, this work is on-going. It is expected that the enabling works which TII is undertaking will be completed in late 2019 or early 2020.

Public Transport Role

In addition, Project Ireland 2040 identifies a number of key public transport priorities including the BusConnects programme, MetroLink and the DART expansion programme. These will be delivered by the National Transport Authority (NTA) progressively and steadily over the short, medium and long term, to deliver a comprehensive public transport network that will match transport demand, alleviate congestion, provide an alternative to private car use and deliver a range of benefits over the next decade, all of which will have a positive effect on the M50.

Question No. 95 answered with Question No. 56.
Question No. 96 answered with Question No. 67.

Infrastructure and Capital Investment Programme

Ceisteanna (97)

Peadar Tóibín

Ceist:

97. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the details of each State infrastructure project that is in development or is due for completion in 2019 in which it is in excess of the budget assigned to the project for its current stage to date. [39522/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

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

The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for the planning and development of public transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area and our regional cities. Noting the NTA's responsibility in the matter, I have referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for a direct reply. Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 days.

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. Each local authority is the contracting authority for the purpose of implementation of regional and local road improvement projects.

In the case of national roads Transport Infrastructure Ireland in conjunction with the relevant local authority is responsible for the implementation of road improvement schemes.

I would point out that cost estimates for road improvement schemes are reviewed at project development milestones and allowing for cost inflation and project implementation risks are subject to change. The Total Scheme Budget at the point of the award of the main construction contract forms the basis for assessing the cost outturn once the final account for a scheme is settled.

In relation to the road PPP projects, the PPP company is responsible for construction and carries the budget risk for the project.

The details for road projects in development or completion in 2019 are included in the following table.

NATIONAL ROADS

SCHEME NAME

ESTIMATE STAGE

BUDGET OUTTURN

AT CONSTRUCTION IN 2019

N11 Gorey Enniscorthy PPP (Scheme Open)

Construction Estimate

Construction Risk with PPP Co.

N25 New Ross Bypass PPP

Construction Estimate

Construction Risk with PPP Co.

M7 Naas Road Widening

Construction Estimate

Final Account TBD

N56 Mountcharles to Inver

Construction Estimate

Final Account TBD

N56 Dungloe to Glenties

Construction Estimate

Final Account TBD

N4 Collooney to Castlebaldwin

Construction Estimate

Final Account TBD

SCHEMES PROGRESSING TO CONSTRUCTION

N5 Westport to Turlough

Final Business Case Cost Estimate

To be determined

N22 Ballyvourney to Macroom

Final Business Case Cost Estimate

To be determined

SCHEMES INTENDING TO GO TO TENDER

M8/N25 Dunkettle

TBD for Final Business Case

To be determined

N69 Listowel Bypass

TBD for Final Business Case

To be determined

N52 Ardee Bypass

TBD for Final Business Case

To be determined

N5 Ballaghaderreen to Scramoge

TBD for Final Business Case

To be determined

N59 Moycullen Bypass

TBD for Final Business Case

To be determined

INTENDING TO PROCEED TO PLANNING APPROVAL

N21/N69 Limerick to Foynes, incorporating the Adare Bypass

Business Case Cost Estimate

To be determined

SUBJECT TO JUDICAL REVIEW POST STATUTORY PROCESS

N28 Cork to Ringaskiddy

Business Case Cost Estimate

To be determined

REGIONAL & LOCAL ROADS

AT CONSTRUCTION/CONSTRUCTION COMPLETED

R407 Sallins Bypass

Construction Estimate

Final Account TBD

Adamstown & Nangor Road Upgrade

Construction Estimate

Final Account TBD

Sligo Western Distributor Road

Construction Estimate

Final Account TBD

Portlaoise Southern Distributor Road

Construction Estimate

Final Account TBD

Dingle Relief Road

Construction Estimate

Final Account TBD

SCHEMES PRE MAIN CONSTRUCTION TENDER STAGE

Coonagh to Knockalisheen

TBD for Final Business Case

To be determined

Athy Southern Distributor Road

TBD for Final Business Case

To be determined

Eastern Garavogue Bridge & Approach Road

TBD for Final Business Case

To be determined

R498 Latteragh Re-alignment

TBD for Final Business Case

To be determined

Tralee Northern Relief Road

TBD for Final Business Case

To be determined

R150 Bettystown to Laytown

TBD for Final Business Case

To be determined

Shannon Crossing/Killaloe By-pass/R494 Upgrade

TBD for Final Business Case

To be determined

Capital Expenditure Programme

Ceisteanna (98)

Martin Heydon

Ceist:

98. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when decisions will be made on applications for capital projects in County Kildare under Project Ireland 2040; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39640/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As the Deputy is aware, Project Ireland 2040 provides indicative allocations over the next ten years for a range of transport related projects and programmes.

As noted in Project Ireland 2040 individual projects and programmes remain subject to compliance with the Public Spending Code, including its requirements in relation to appraisal and Sanctioning Authority approval points.

Details regarding indicative allocations, current status and expected completion dates where applicable are on the Project Ireland 2040 Tracker that is published by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and available at the following link:

https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/6db7c4-investment-projects-and-programmes-tracker/

County Kildare road improvement projects identified in Project Ireland 2040 for implementation, subject to the necessary approvals, are the Athy Southern Distributor Road, the Sallins By-pass and the M7 Naas Newbridge Bypass upgrade. The M7 Naas Newbridge Bypass upgrade and the Sallins Bypass are already at construction.

In relation to Tourism, Fáilte Ireland is currently evaluating a total of 141 applications under Stage 2 of its Platforms for Growth tourism investment programme, the first funding call of which invited proposals for immersive heritage and cultural attractions. Fáilte Ireland is planning to notify applicants, including those from Co. Kildare, by November 2019.

While there are currently no outstanding applications for Greenways in Co. Kildare, funding of €1.7m was granted to Kildare County Council for work on the Grand Canal Greenway in June 2019.

In relation to Sports Capital Funding, the 2018 round of the Sports Capital Programme closed for applications on Friday 19th October last. By that deadline, a record 2,337 applications were submitted seeking a total of €162m in funding. 186 of these applications were for projects that were deemed invalid under the 2017 round of the programme that subsequently submitted corrected documents. These applications were assessed first and approximately €7m in allocations to 170 projects were announced on the 17th January. 619 equipment only applications were assessed next and 466 allocations with a value of €9.8m were announced to these organisations in May. Work is now underway in assessing the remaining applications for capital works. It is likely to take a further number of weeks to have all applications assessed with allocations announced shortly after that.

With regard to larger projects, the Large Scale Sport Infrastructure Fund opened for applications on 19th November 2018 and the closing date for receipt of applications was 17th April. 72 applications were received in total. Details of the scheme and all applications received have been published on the gov.ie website https://www.gov.ie/en/service/d13385-sports-capital-programme/#sports-capital-programme-allocations-and-payments along with the evaluation procedures and guidelines. Assessment of the applications received has commenced. In view of the detailed information contained in each application, I am advised that it will take a number of months to have all of them assessed.

Accordingly, I expect that it will be towards the end of this year before any allocations are announced.