Thursday, 16 December 2021
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
32. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he intends instructing Galway City Council to immediately develop and progress projects as outlined in the Transport Strategy for Galway in view of the decision of An Bord Pleanála to approve the ring road around Galway, which, when built, will facilitate the development of rapid public transport in the city and also active travel; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61420/21]
As Minister for Transport I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to transport infrastructure. The development, implementation and oversight of the projects as outlined in the Galway Transport Strategyis a matter first and foremost for the National Transport Authority and the local authorities who are working to ensure that they are delivered as intended.
As the Deputy noted, Galway County Council have received planning approval from An Bord Pleanála in relation to the N6 Galway City Ring Road. The Council and Transport Infrastructure Ireland will now study the conditions outlined within it. If there are no legal challenges, the project will move to the next stage which includes providing for land acquisition and developing a procurement strategy. The project also needs to be assessed under a range of criteria in line with the Public Spending Code. Only then can a Government decision be made on whether the project can ultimately proceed to construction. Additionally, an independent review will take place as part of the External Assurance Processfor major public investment projects
I would also draw the Deputy’s attention to the review of the Galway Transport Strategy which is due to commence next year. It will be led by the National Transport Authority in cooperation with Galway City Council and Galway County Council. It will include a comprehensive analysis of changes to population projections, development density, employment forecasts and future travel demand patterns since the finalisation of the current Strategy. This analysis will be utilised to reassess the public transport needs across Galway city and the potential role all modes of transport can play in meeting those needs.
In the meantime, implementation will continue on the current Galway Transport Strategy.This includes the Galway BusConnects programme with key elements like the Cross-City Link and the Dublin Road Corridor advancing at pace. Further projects include the roll-out of improved active travel infrastructure, the Safe Routes to School programme, redevelopment of Ceannt Station and the improvements planned for Oranmore station and track infrastructure.
I look forward to working with the Deputy on improving sustainable mobility infrastructure in Galway in the coming years.