Tuesday, 9 July 2019
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
76. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to review the Galway transport strategy and plans for a light rail system in view of the declaration of a climate emergency and the recently published Climate Action Plan 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29500/19]
As the Deputy is aware, the Galway Transport Strategy was prepared by the National Transport Authority in partnership with Galway City Council and Galway County Council in 2016. The development and Implementation of the Strategy is primarily a matter for the local authorities in line with their statutory roles and responsibilities.
The Galway Transport Strategy supports opportunities that will reduce congestion and car dependency through increased capacity of reliable and sustainable public transport and the promotion and facilitation of cycling and walking. This in turn promotes the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
The Deputy will also be aware that during the development of the Strategy, it was concluded that bus-based public transport represents the most appropriate system for Galway over the period of the transport strategy. The Strategy found that a light rail service would provide capacity far in excess of what is practically required. It determined that a high-quality bus-based public transport service will cater for the forecasted passenger demand and will provide significant flexibility in terms of network options and the ability to integrate with other modes.
The Strategy also commits toward much improved active travel infrastructure across the city through improvements to the public realm and increased investment in cycling infrastructure. Funding to support the development of this infrastructure is available through the indicative allocations provided under Project Ireland 2040 and administered on my Department's behalf by the National Transport Authority.
Project Ireland 2040 provides an indicative allocation of €200 million to support the development of a BusConnects programme in Galway. Under the BusConnects programme, the bus fleet will transition to low-emission technologies. The recently published Climate Action Plan also contains actions to accelerate the decarbonisation of the public bus fleet with the objective to only have low-emitting buses in the urban PSO bus fleet by 2035. These are part of a wide-ranging set of actions for transport in the Climate Action Plan particularly in relation to public transport and active travel. These actions will be implemented in line with the commitments given within the Plan.