Cyclists criticise €9m allocation for greenways and urban infrastructure
Spending on eight new Luas carriages included in €2.7bn allocation for department
The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport defended the €9m budget allocation for cycling infrastructure. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw
Spending on eight new 55-metre Luas carriages and 41 new intercity rail cars has been included in the €2.7 billion budget allocation for the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport in 2020.
The total allocation for sport is €125 million, with €34 million to be spent on sports capital grants and meeting existing commitments under the local authority swimming pool directive.
Minister Shane Ross said there would be €1 billion available to finance the BusConnects plan and Metrolink in Dublin, along with improved bus and rail services, improved rail maintenance, and the delivery in 2021 of the 41 new intercity rail carriages. He also said some money would be used for payments towards the cost of 300 new battery electric trains to replace the existing Dart fleet in coming years.
In terms of roads funding, Mr Ross said there would be €600 million provided for national roads maintenance and construction. Key projects in 2020 include: the N5 Westport to Turlough; the Dunkettle interchange; bypasses of Listowel, Moycullen and Sallins; and the N22 Ballyvourney to Macroom route in Co Cork.
A further €520 million would be provided for regional and local roads maintenance and construction, he said.
Cycling lobby groups criticised the budget announcement of just €9 million for greenways and urban cycling infrastructure but Department of Transport officials said this was only part of a multi-funded programme for cycling.
They said one rural and two urban sustainable transport programmes under the department’s remit would amount to €114 million – up from €61million in 2019. This was separate to the BusConnects project which would deliver 200km of segregated cycleways.
A total of €66 million will be provided for Sport Ireland which includes €5 million to fund the National Sports Policy. Some €10 million will go to large-scale sports infrastructure and €8 million to fund major events including the Tokyo Olympics, Euro 2020 and preparations for the Ryder Cup.
Key projects on the tourism side include an additional €40 million Brexit funding for 2020 plus a supplementary €7million to be paid immediately in 2019. A further €40 million will be available for tourism support in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
A total of €85 million will be provided to fund Bord Fáilte and Tourism Ireland, and the tourism side of the department will contribute €25 million to the development of greenways. Waterford Airport will receive €5million towards the extension of the runway.