What are each party’s transport election promises?
BusConnects, rail projects, cycling and roads have all been promised major investment
Among the proposals, Fianna Fáil has said it would revive the shelved Dart Underground project, which would link the largely coastal line to Heuston Station. Photograph: iStock
The perception of being the local politician who “fixed the road” is often referred to as a bread and butter vote winner.
Potholes are one thing but where does each party stand on transport policies, and what have they promised ahead of the general election?
Fine Gael has said it will examine if it is feasible to extend plans for the Dublin MetroLink project further south-west to include stops at UCD, and to look at extending the Luas to Hazelhatch and Booterstown.
The party has stood by the controversial BusConnects plan to redraw the Dublin Bus network, and if re-elected would commission a study on the “feasibility” of introducing free public transport for under 18s still in education.
Fianna Fáil has committed to introducing free public transport for those under 18 years of age at a cost of €27 million, and to raising public transport funding by €30 million a year. It would also revive the shelved Dart Underground project, which would link the largely coastal line to Heuston Station.
Sinn Féin has said it would reverse the privatisation of public bus routes “where possible” and has also committed to free public transport for all under 18s. The party’s manifesto set out several projects it would back if in power, such as the Western Rail Corridor, a light rail line for Cork city, and the extension of the Luas line to Bray, Finglas, Lucan and Poolbeg.
The Greens Party is also in favour of free public transport for students and the introduction of a €365 annual travel pass. It will increase government subvention, create more park and ride and bike and ride facilities and make all trains fully accessible. It says all new urban buses would be 100 per cent electric or low emission hybrids.
The party proposes building a new electric bus depot beside the M50 and introducing a rural bus network similar to one in operation in Kilkenny city with two routes operating every 30 minutes. It supports the BusConnects plan and prioritising buses on roads with an expanded quality bus corridor network and priority traffic light signalling for buses.
Labour has pledged to reverse the privatisation of public transport, and to push through projects such as the Dublin MetroLink.
The Social Democrats would “significantly boost” subsidies to public transport companies, which would lead to a reduction in fares.
People Before Profit would “move to a policy of free public transport to get people out of cars,” a call echoed by Solidarity.
Fine Gael wants at least €6 million a year from the carbon tax intake to be ring fenced and put towards cycling projects. The party says it would produce a “five year plan” to increase the number of people cycling to work on a daily basis from 57,000 up to 120,000.
Fianna Fáil has pledged to create “cycle-friendly cities and towns”, saying it would invest €50 million in cycling infrastructure and introduce priority traffic signalling for cyclists.
Sinn Féin says it would commission a nationwide, cross-border review to identify potential new greenways and cycle tracks.
The Greens have proposed allowing cyclists to take left turns at red traffic lights (giving way to crossing pedestrians). It also wants to identify and redesign the 50 most dangerous junctions in the country to make them safer for cyclists. It would also fast track seven cycle routes in Dublin and extend and create greenways in Cork, Galway and Limerick.
Labour says it would put 10 per cent of the national transport budget towards cycling and 10 per cent towards walking infrastructure. It also wants to expand public bike schemes to large towns.
The Social Democrats says it would develop more “inter-urban cycleways and scenic greenways”. People Before Profit said it would improve cycling conditions in cities by “dividing wide footpaths where there is less footfall”.
Fine Gael is committed to a 2:1 ratio of spending between public transport and road projects. Its manifesto pledges a “strong programme of investment in new roads” such as new bypasses of currently congested towns.
Fianna Fáil has promised to green light several major road projects such as the M20 between Cork and Limerick and the A5 between Donegal and Derry. The party would also pilot a smartphone app allowing the public to alert local authorities of potholes that need to be fixed.
Sinn Féin is also in favour of delivering on the M20 and A5 roads as well as trebling the funding available for improvements to smaller roads.
The Green Party is openly opposed to the €5.7 billion pledged to national road schemes under the Project Ireland 2040 strategy, saying a focus on tarmac is “completely counterproductive” given Ireland’s need to reduce carbon emissions.
Labour is committed to prioritising road projects that are required for “the economic development of cities and large towns outside of Dublin,” such as the North Ring Road in Cork.
Social Democrats would commit to funding new road infrastructure “where there is a critical need” such as a “high grade connection” between Cork, Limerick and Galway.