I am aware there has been some confusion since Budget 2020 in relation to announcements made in relation to expenditure on active travel related programmes.
The €114million referred to by the Deputy and announced as part of Budget 2020 comprised two elements -
- €91million toward active travel related programmes
- €23million toward greenways.
Since announcement of Budget 2020’s overall funding parameters and as we move toward finalisation of allocations, and expected project level commitments next year, I can inform the Deputy that there is likely to be an upward shift in the active travel related expenditure for next year, with the two principal active travel related programmes now to be allocated just over €100million in total.
Within my Department active travel is also separately supported through funding provided under the BusConnects programme and the roads programme.
However, that does not capture the totality of taxpayer support for active travel as funding is also made available through other funding programmes such as the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund, the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund and the Cycle to Work Scheme.
Expenditure on active travel principally relates to the development of infrastructure under multi-annual budgeted programmes and progress on individual projects is obviously dependent on a number of factors, such as planning and procurement for example.
I think it important to note that at a policy level the focus is on active travel and funding is provided to support that policy objective through providing better infrastructure and other supporting measures to increase the numbers of people choosing to either walk or cycle as their primary, or complementary, means of transport.
The reality of infrastructure provision on the ground is that active travel infrastructure is very frequently provided on an integrated basis and therefore attempting to split out precisely walking versus cycling percentages presents practical difficulties in terms of arriving at an accurate conclusion and is also in many ways a false disaggregation given the overall policy objective.
In the context of active travel, the overall percentage of expenditure should reflect the totality of taxpayer support being made available each year and my Department is looking at ways to ensure that totality is captured and reported upon more accurately.
However, the Deputy may wish to be aware that the allocations under just the two principal active travel programmes referred to above represents approximately 5.5% of our land transport capital investment programme in 2020 based on figures currently available and subject to finalisation in the Revised Estimates for Public Services.