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Cycle paths to form part of labour intensive recovery plan?

Could building cycle paths help unemployment and economic recovery? Rory O’Donnell, director of the National Economic and Social Council (NESC), talked to Bloomberg Television yesterday on public construction projects which could help recovery and he highlighted cycleways as “relatively small scale, but labour intensive projects” which could be identified and built fairly quickly.

O’Donnell said that these type of projects create “real value” — he could mean return from tourism, as well as transport and health.

He also mentions “important government strategies” to be announced in the coming weeks.

The report from the NESC said:

Community infrastructure projects that focus on the heritage and the environment (including National Bike Paths), for example, have figured prominently in Australia’s response to the emergence of high unemployment in some of its regions (in its ‘Jobs Fund’, 2009–2011). As already suggested, projects that have strong local appeal and are considered to guarantee significant benefits that can be captured locally (e.g., enhancement of tourist attractions; national or regional cycle lanes; removal of major environmental ‘sores’; routes to school obviating the need for car use; after-hours childcare facilities in school grounds; etc.) may lend themselves to some form of local participation in their investment.

The report also mentions the Great Western Greenway cycling and walking route in Mayo. Another report from Failte Ireland estimated that “all direct expenditure associated with the Greenway would contribute to a projected €7.2m in spend in the local economy over a full year in 2011.”

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Cian Ginty

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