Robert Murray, President of Drogheda & District Chamber welcomes the announcement by The National Transport Authority and Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan today announceing spending totalling €72.8m for 340 sustainable transport projects in 19 local authorities. The funding is in addition to the multi-annual active travel investment programme announced on February 11th which has already designated €240m to Dublin, the GDA and regional cities.
Today’s announcement is the first ever major active travel investment programme for rural Ireland. The €72.8m announced today for rural counties, is greater than the entire 2019 funding for national walking and cycling programme. The NTA had originally earmarked €50m for this scheme but due to the volume of project proposals being developed by local authorities, it has been increased to over €70m.
Speaking at today’s announcement Minister Ryan said:
“Today’s allocation marks another significant step forward in providing green sustainable transport options to those outside of the large urban centres.
Developing high quality walking and cycling facilities will encourage more people to switch to active travel and will contribute to tackling climate change. Connecting communities and making walking and cycling attractive, safe and accessible to everyone is what this funding will help to accomplish.
The projects being funded today will make a real difference to rural communities across the country and this is only the beginning.
I look forward to seeing these projects progress over the coming year and to developing high quality walking and cycling networks over the course of this government.
Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton said:
“Today’s funding has a particular focus on rural Ireland; underpinned by Government’s commitment to spend almost €1m per day on walking and cycling projects, this funding will support the roll out of high-quality active travel infrastructure in rural towns and villages right across the country. I am particularly pleased to see specific projects receiving funding as part of the Safe Routes to School programme which we launched earlier this month. This safe and accessible infrastructure will ensure that our local communities are better connected, and that healthier forms of travel continue to become a more attractive choice.”
Anne Graham CEO of the NTA said:
“Today’s allocation provides more funding to rural areas than ever before. The sum today is larger than the entire walking and cycling budget for 2019, which shows a clear demand for this type of infrastructure across the country. Our announcement on the 11th of February focused on new funding and today is no different with much of the funding announced today representing new projects for authorities.
“Walking and cycling in areas outside of cities and suburbs is increasingly becoming a more common sight. Today’s allocation will ensure that these modes of transport will become faster and more importantly safer.
“Our partners in the local authorities have worked with us throughout the allocation process and we look forward to working with them through the next stages of development.”
Other major announcements today were;
Ardmore Road Footpath and Cycleway, Mullingar
Westmeath County Council
Bridge Street Callan, One Way System
Kilkenny County Council
St. Dominick's Bridge, Drogheda
Louth County Council
Tullamore Cycle Network Phase 1
Offaly County Council
Coleville Road Footpath Improvement Scheme
Tipperary County Council
Upgrade of Monaghan Town Greenway
Monaghan County Council
Athleague - Cycle Lane
Roscommon County Council
IT Sligo to Hyde Bridge Walking/Cycling scheme
Sligo County Council
General projects in the scheme include the reallocation of overall road space which will include segregated cycling lanes and widened footpaths. Cyclist parking, raised pedestrian crossings and reducing road width at crossing points as well as other improvements.
The NTA will be tasked with overseeing and supporting the development of the high-quality mobility infrastructure across all projects. The authority will also ensure that projects are accessible, age-friendly and maximise comfort to people of all ages and abilities.
The fund will be administered for the Department of Transport by the National Transport Authority.
Funding will be initially available to support projects in:
Leinster: Carlow, Laois, Longford, Louth, Kilkenny, Offaly, Westmeath, Wexford
Munster: Clare, Kerry, Tipperary
Connacht: Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon, Sligo
Ulster: Cavan, Donegal, Monaghan
The local authorities included in today’s announcement are Carlow Council, Laois County Council, Longford County Council, Louth County Council, Kilkenny County Council, Offaly County Council, Westmeath County Council, Wexford County Council, Clare County Council, Kerry County Council, Tipperary County Council, Galway County Council, Leitrim County Council, Mayo County Council, Roscommon County Council, Sligo County Council, Cavan County Council, Donegal County Council & Monaghan County Council.