— Scotland is to start spending £80m per year in the same time frame.
— Falls far short of comparable funding levels in Netherlands — Greens.
A review of the Government’s Capital Plan includes an average spend on walking and cycling routes of €41.5m per year, but the Green Party has said say this falls too short what’s spent in the Netherlands and Denmark, and it’s less than half of the £80m per year Scotland is to spend on walking and cycling.
The new Irish allocation includes €110m for new urban cycling and walking routes in cities and another €56m for greenways over four years. The Department of Transport four-year capital spending plan includes €4.2bn for roads and €2.7bn for public transport, cycling and walking.
There will also be €750m now allocated for the BusConnects programme, a bus network upgrade planned for Dublin. The department said that BusConnects will include “designated segregated cycle lanes”, but the National Transport Authority has previously outlined how it wants the segregation of different bus services given a higher priority than separating bicycles from buses.
On greenways, the Department of Transport said: “In line with the commitment given in the Programme for Partnership Government, an overarching strategy for the future development of Greenways is in preparation. Greenways are valued by locals and tourists alike and provide many leisure, health and transport benefits. A very substantial €56m will be made available for the development of Greenways over the coming four funding years, to implement recommendations in the upcoming strategy and to complete projects funded under earlier funding rounds, commencing with €3.6m in 2018.”
In international terms, Ireland has a broadly comparable population size (4.773 million people in the Republic of Ireland vs 5.295 million in Scotland).
Councillor Ciarán Cuffe (Green Party) said: “It seems Shane Ross wishes to spend over twice as much on roads as on public transport, cycling and walking. He seems eager to repeat the mistakes of the past by investing in more motorways that will bring car drivers more quickly to the congested roads of our cities. He should reverse the allocation and give walking, cycling and public transport the investment it deserves. Rather than hopping onto a bus once a year, he should get up early in the morning and experience the reality that faces bus commuters every day in our cities and towns.”
He added: “Cycling is a win-win funding measure, but there is little indication that Ross will provide the staffing and funding that we see in progressive countries such as the Netherlands and Denmark.”
Transport minister, Shane Ross, said on Twitter this evening: “To get our cities moving, we need more cycle lanes and more #cyclists. Delighted to have announced today €110 million over 4 years for this.”
UPDATED: This article was updated to give context to the funding by comparing it with Scotland.