A stark near 40% fall in core sustainable transport funding in just two years has been highlighted by the Dublin Cycling Campaign.
While there are some other sources of such funding, the cycle campaign points out that core funding has declined from €42 million in 2013, to €32 million in 2014, and then €26 million for this year.
The campaign said on its website yesterday: “When DTTAS [the Department of Transport’s] New Year press releases on sustainable transport are compared over the past 3 years, the ‘Good News’ amounts announced have decreased year on year from €42 million in 2013, to €32 million in 2014, to the above figure of €26 million for this year. So…..is funding for sustainable transport on the wane, despite the Government’s and Local Authorities’ lip service to the mantra of reducing CO2 emissions and promoting alternative modes of travel!? It would certainly seem so.”
The campaign said it is aware of staffing constraints in all local authorities, which have hindered the progress of projects in the sustainable transport area — many councils are quite open about this.
“This year’s announced investment of €25.93 is merely a drop in the ocean compared to that allocated for roads projects, which will help to increase our carbon emissions” the statement added. “Greater resources and investment need to be allocated to sustainable projects than heretofore, to support a move to lesser CO2 emissions, and to provide real sustainable transport options for the Irish people.”
It said that when road projects including the €515million for the Tuam Bypass, €126million for Newland’s Cross, and €215million for New Ross Bypass are compared even to the largest sustainable transport project, Luas Cross City (€368million) that “it would appear that government priorities are clearly aligned with the road transport lobby rather than sustainable transport”.
The campaign said that sustainable transport projects, including walking and cycling ones, offer a greater return on investment and that there needs to be transparency around how money is spend.
The statement said: “It is also noticeable, when examining the figures year on year, how many of the same projects remain on the list, often due to allocated funding not being spent in the previous year. We need to have a system whereby it is possible to transparently examine projected expenditures against actual out-turns. It is also very clear that far greater expenditure continues to be allocated to road ‘improvement’ projects rather than committing to more sustainable projects, which invariably provide a greater return on investment. This is borne out by accepted international studies.”