Ireland to invest 20% of total transport capital budget on cycling and pedestrian infrastructure.
As of the end of June 2020 the standing coalition government of Fine Gael, Finna Fail and the Green Party pledged to allocate 10% of the total transport capital budget 2020 on cycling infrastructure which has been a long standing demand of the European Cyclists Federation, which to date has not been met by any Government of Ireland.
As per the Programme of Government, June 2020:
… an allocation of 10% of the total transport capital budget for cycling projects and an allocation of 10% of the total capital budget for pedestrian infrastructure. The Government’s commitment to cycling and pedestrian projects will be set at 20% of the 2020 capital budget (€360 million) per year for the lifetime of the Government. (p13)
TD Eamon Ryan of the Green Party, the current Minister for Climate Action, Communication Networks and Transport will oversee the government commitment into real investments for high quality cycling infrastructure in all towns and cities across the Irish Republic.
As per Ryan on Oct 13th 2020:
"I am very pleased to be in a position to announce €3.5 billion in the overall budget allocation to the Department of Transport. This represents a very significant increase of €1 billion on gross expenditure levels over 2020. It will ensure that our transport network continues to grow sustainably in to the future, providing our citizens with viable and affordable transport alternatives, while also working to meet our climate and environmental objectives.
We will now be heavily investing in more sustainable transport projects than roads projects. This shift in budgetary allocation will rebalance our transport network so we are providing viable travel options for years to come...This year’s Budget will also allow us to make significant change in the ways that we travel. In 2021 we’ll see €360m allocated across Government to support walking and cycling projects nationwide. As part of this I have also secured approximately €50 million for Greenways. This is the highest ever allocation dedicated to these types of cycle ways."
According to figures published by ECF member Cyclist.ie. investments into cycling stood at €12.64 million (or less than 2% of the transport budget).
The investments into walking and cycling will have to be done in the context of a new Sustainable Mobility Policy (SMP) that the Department for Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) of the previous government has been preparing.
Cyclist.ie has also pointed out the need for the new Minister to create the necessary horizontal (with other governments departments) as well as vertical structures (all 31 local authorities) to be aligned in their policies around walking and cycling promotion. “One of the failings in the implementation of the ambitious 2009 National Cycle Policy Framework (NCPF) was the inaction on ensuring good coordination and cooperation between all bodies”,
With Ireland witnessing a cycling boom amidst the Coronavirus pandemic the Governments commitment to improving, developing and maintaining the countries cycling infrastructure is a welcome shift of gears.