Tuesday, 6 November 2018
Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions
Public Transport Expenditure
I get staggered from time to time when I listen to Deputy Munster. I sometimes think good news is very unwelcome to her and that she finds it rather uncomfortable, so she has somehow to misinterpret it. I do not know what planet she is on. I have to repeat that the PSO subvention increased in 2016, 2017 and again this year. It is an increase. I do not know if the Deputy thinks it is a decrease. Over three years it will increase by 36% in total. That is an awful lot of money. Funding of €285 million is being allocated in 2018 to support the delivery of socially necessary but financially unviable journeys and routes. I do not see how the Deputy can complain about that. I can understand why she does not like the opening of the bus market but how she can complain about increased spending baffles me.
In terms of other capital investment programmes, my Department provides funding to the NTA, which in turn allocates funding to the individual operators in accordance with its agreed capital investment priorities. Budget 2019 provides for significant increases in funding for heavy rail enhancements and BusConnects and specific allocations will be agreed between the NTA and the operators in the coming weeks. The projects to be funded under these programmes include city centre rail resignalling, the new national train control centre and the bus fleet renewal and expansion under BusConnects.