New trams, rail cars and buses planned in €2.7bn transport budget

Carbon tax funds will go to increase number of charging points for electric vehicles

Bus Éireann: The Government is to spend an extra €384 million on boosting rural transport. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Bus Éireann: The Government is to spend an extra €384 million on boosting rural transport. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

 

The Government will spend an extra €384 million on new trams, rail cars, roads and other measures to boost transport next year.

Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, said he had earmarked €2.7 billion for the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport in 2020, a €384 million increase on this year.

“This will include investment in our rural transport network,” the Minister told TDs in his Budget 2020 speech.

The department will receive an extra €27 million for day-to-day spending and €357 million for capital expenditure, that is, to invest in road building and boosting public transport.

Government documents say extra cash should allow the department to advance projects such as the proposed metro rail line between Dublin city centre and the airport, and expanding the capital’s Dart and Luas services.

Luas will get eight longer trams next year, while Irish Rail will receive new carriages for its inter-city trains. The Government will step up maintenance of the Republic’s railway lines and purchase new buses.

The department is also scheduled to do more work on new roads, including the proposed motorway linking Cork with Limerick, upgrading the Ballyvourney to Macroom road in Co Cork and the Westport to Turlough route in Co Mayo.

Department plans show that the Government will continue to give money to regional airports such as Donegal, Kerry and Knock next year.

The Government must also update the National Civil Aviation Security Programme to ensure that the Republic remains in line with safety standards set by the EU and International Civil Aviation Organisation.

Some of the day-to-day cash will be used to pay for extra staff at the National Transport Authority and for a roads maintenance programme.

The department will aid increased investment in sport and will provide cash to support the Republic’s efforts in events such as next year’s Tokyo Olympics and Euro 2020 football championship.

At local level, the Government will finalise payments to the €19 million Kerry Sports Academy at the Institute of Technology, Tralee, which was formally opened earlier this year.

The department will also move ahead with plans to establish a “large-scale sport infrastructure fund”. This is meant to contribute to the construction of bigger stadia and venues where the money needed is more than the sum available from the Government’s existing sports capital programme.

In his speech, Mr Donohoe told the Dáil that the extra funds would include some of the cash raised from carbon tax. He said €9 million would be earmarked for “sustainable mobility projects” such as building greenways and cycleways in cities and towns.

The minister added that the Government would provide an extra €3 million for installing charging points for electric vehicles. This money will pay for new on-street charging points and a new scheme to install communal plugs for these vehicles in apartment blocks.

Mr Donohoe will also earmark an extra €8 million for the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment to spend on grants for people to buy electric vehicles.