Latest Laois News: Laois gets over €3 million for Active Travel Infrastructure
NTA ALLOCATES OVER €70M IN NEW FUNDING TO RURAL COUNCILS FOR ACTIVE CYCLING AND WALKING INFRASTRUCTURE
The National Transport Authority and Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan have today announced spending totalling €72.8m for 340 sustainable transport projects in 19 local authorities. The funding is in addition to the multi-annual active travel investment programme announced on February 11th which has already designated €240m to Dublin, the GDA and regional cities.
Today’s announcement is the first ever major active travel investment programme for rural Ireland. The €72.8m announced today for rural counties, is greater than the entire 2019 funding for national walking and cycling programme. The NTA had originally earmarked €50m for this scheme but due to the volume of project proposals being developed by local authorities, it has been increased to over €70m.
Minister Pippa Hackett added the following statement when news of the announcement broke:
“With Offaly receiving €3.4 million and Laois receiving €3.3m, we are well set to improve our cycling and walking facilities in the Midlands. I recently called for better cycling infrastructure in Portarlington, along with our Green Party representative there, John Holland, and active travel was high on the list of suggestions made by our Portlaoise representative Sean McManus at our Portlaoise public meeting last week. I’m delighted to see that Tullamore projects are to receive €1.5m in this round of funding.”
Speaking at today’s announcement Minister Ryan said:
“Today’s allocation marks another significant step forward in providing green sustainable transport options to those outside of the large urban centres.
Developing high quality walking and cycling facilities will encourage more people to switch to active travel and will contribute to tackling climate change. Connecting communities and making walking and cycling attractive, safe and accessible to everyone is what this funding will help to accomplish.
New Rural Active Travel Investment Programme Distributes over €70 Million in year one of a five-year plan.
The projects being funded today will make a real difference to rural communities across the country and this is only the beginning.
I look forward to seeing these projects progress over the coming year and to developing high quality walking and cycling networks over the course of this government.
Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton said:
“Today’s funding has a particular focus on rural Ireland; underpinned by Government’s commitment to spend almost €1m per day on walking and cycling projects, this funding will support the roll out of high-quality active travel infrastructure in rural towns and villages right across the country. I am particularly pleased to see specific projects receiving funding as part of the Safe Routes to School programme which we launched earlier this month. This safe and accessible infrastructure will ensure that our local communities are better connected, and that healthier forms of travel continue to become a more attractive choice.”
Anne Graham CEO of the NTA said:
“Today’s allocation provides more funding to rural areas than ever before. The sum today is larger than the entire walking and cycling budget for 2019, which shows a clear demand for this type of infrastructure across the country. Our announcement on the 11th of February focused on new funding and today is no different with much of the funding announced today representing new projects for authorities.
“Walking and cycling in areas outside of cities and suburbs is increasingly becoming a more common sight. Today’s allocation will ensure that these modes of transport will become faster and more importantly safer.
“Our partners in the local authorities have worked with us throughout the allocation process and we look forward to working with them through the next stages of development.”
General projects in the scheme include the reallocation of overall road space which will include segregated cycling lanes and widened footpaths. Cyclist parking, raised pedestrian crossings and reducing road width at crossing points as well as other improvements.
The NTA will be tasked with overseeing and supporting the development of the high-quality mobility infrastructure across all projects. The authority will also ensure that projects are accessible, age-friendly and maximise comfort to people of all ages and abilities.
The fund will be administered for the Department of Transport by the National Transport Authority.
A full list of projects to be funded under this allocation can be found below.