— Department of Transport says there was no funding cut
— Dublin City Council agrees there’s no 2016 funding cut
— Council highlights issue of uncertainty of future funding.
Dublin City Council has said its current cycle route funding has not been cut but it says it needs €25 million a year for next four years for cycling projects and there is uncertainty over that level of funding.
At last Monday’s monthly council meeting, Owen Keegan, the manager or CEO of Dublin City Council, had claimed that a “shock and surprise” central government walking and cycling funding cut was to blame for a number of cycling projects being postponed. The claim that central government are to blame for a delay to cycling projects was refuted by the Department of Transport.
A Department of Transport spokesman said: “The has been no change to the 2016 STMG [the National Transport Authority’s sustainable transport measures] allocation. The department has provided funding under the sustainable grant programme for the Greater Dublin Area in 2016 of €23.2M. Under this Programme Dublin City Council was allocated €11.6M in 2016.”
The National Transport Authority’s sustainable transport measures grants for the Greater Dublin Area for 2016 was announced back in March, when we reported on them.
A statement from Dublin City Council issued to IrishCycle.com on Friday said: “The Chief Executive was referring to the uncertainty regarding the funding allocation for the cycling projects in 2017 and beyond. It is correct to say there have been no cuts to the Sustainable Traffic Management Grant budget from the Department/NTA for Dublin City Council cycling projects in 2016. However, the majority of the current year’s allocations are for design work rather than construction activities. (The main exceptions to this are the Clontarf S to S and the Newcomen projects, both of which are in construction phase.)”
The council said it needed €25 million per year for the next four year for cycling projects just in its area — that’s more than the 2016 €23.2 million allocation for all of the Dublin area councils.
“What is uncertain at present are future funding levels – we will not be in a position to know the funding amount for construction work on cycling schemes for 2017 until final allocations are determined following the [national] Budget next month. To progress all the cycling projects we have currently in design to construction will need funding in the order of €25 million a year for the next four years, excluding any funding for bus lanes and other sustainable traffic management measures. This level of funding is not provided for at the moment in the medium term capital programme. However, a review of that capital plan is planned to be undertaken next year,” said the council spokesman.
He added: “The Chief Executive did advise the Council that he was confident that the necessary funding would be forthcoming in due course. He also advised the Council that due to the need to prioritise work associated with Luas Cross City including the College Green project certain staff resources had to be diverted from a number of cycling projects. The issue here is not any cuts to existing funding but the prioritisation of projects based on the City Council’s limited staff resources and the likelihood of future funding to construct schemes becoming available.”
The council said that work on the Liffey Cycle route and the Amiens Street to Fairview / Clontarf cycle routes is continuing as these are “critical city centre projects”, a reference to the city centre transport study changes due next year including Luas Cross City and linked bus priority measures on the Liffey quays and the College Green Plaza. It also said these routes already have high numbers of users who cycle.
“It is not unreasonable that cycling infrastructure projects be prioritised based on the number of cyclists that use them and as such cycling schemes such as the Liffey Cycle route and the Amiens Street to Fairview cycle routes are critical city centre projects which the NTA and DCC have agreed must be prioritised over other schemes,” the council said.
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IrishCycle.com asked why, if projects were funded for 2016, are these projects now postponed. The council replied: “Regarding the query re where the money is going to the majority of the allowable expenditure has already occurred and that any outstanding expenditure on these schemes is expected to take place in 2017 as resource issues are addressed.”
We are waiting for a reply from the National Transport Authority.
This morning the Dublin Cycling Campaign said it was “planning an event re cycling safety & funding issues” under its #allocate4cycling campaign. It posted the following image to Twitter and Facebook: