Dáil debates

Thursday, 10 March 2022

Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate

National Transport Authority

3:40 pm

Photo of Martin HeydonMartin Heydon (Kildare South, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

Deputy McAuliffe has an offer to bring back to the chief executives. It is on the record of the House that the offer of support is there and we need them to drive on the project now. I thank the Deputy for raising the matter and making his contribution to the discussion today. It is great to see investment in active travel starting to bear fruit.

The Government is keen to accelerate the delivery of sustainable transport modes as we come out of the majority of Covid restrictions. It is vital that we do not allow a return to gridlock as we come out of the pandemic.

Deputy McAuliffe referred to politicians needing to be climate-brave. This is a quality-of-life issue. It is about us making a modal shift. According to the Central Statistics Office, CSO, 29% of trips currently are less than 2 km, and 57% of those are made by car. Moreover, of trips up to 6 km, 79% are made by car. Local authorities and the NTA have been provided with an unprecedented increase in funding for additional staff for active travel to help deliver all the necessary infrastructure to enable more of the longer journeys to be made by walking and cycling, in particular in heavily populated urban areas such as the one highlighted by Deputy McAuliffe today.

The increase in the number of people opting to make journeys by walking or cycling during the period of Covid-19 restrictions shows the potential to make real strides in a modal shift away from fossil-fuelled vehicles and towards more sustainable modes of transport. The funding committed to in budget 2022 for investment in sustainable transport projects is proof of the Government’s commitment to active travel. I look forward to the development of active travel plans that will promote sustainable transport options for people across the country and in the area of Coolock Lane highlighted by the Deputy today.


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