Thursday, 17 December 2020
Department of Rural and Community Development
Transport Infrastructure Provision
2. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development if she is engaging with the Minister for Transport on the provision of sustainable transport infrastructure such as segregated cycle lanes and greenways. [44385/20]
The Programme for Government places a strong emphasis on improving our transport infrastructure to ensure that people can travel more safely by bicycle or by walking in our towns and cities.
The Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan, recently announced a fund of €50 million to be made available to Local Authorities for investment in walking and cycling projects specifically targeted at towns and villages across the country.
The Minister also announced an allocation of €63.5 million to greenways for 2021. This is the highest single annual amount ever allocated to greenways and shows the Government’s commitment to more sustainable modes of local transport in both urban and rural areas.
While the Department of Transport is the primary funder of national and regional greenways, my Department also supports the development and maintenance of local greenways and trails under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme. These trails directly enhance local amenities and tourism offerings. Given the importance of this scheme to local communities and visitors to rural areas, I have secured an increase of €2 million for the scheme in 2021. The total Exchequer allocation for the scheme next year will be €12 million.
My Department is currently finalising a new rural development policy for the period 2021-2025, which will reflect a whole-of-Government commitment to rural Ireland. The process of developing the policy has included wide-ranging consultation with key stakeholders and Government Departments, including the Department of Transport.
I have spoken directly with the Minister for Transport to get his views on priorities that should be reflected in the policy. I anticipate that policy, when published, will reference the importance of sustainable transport infrastructure in rural areas.