Minister Ross sets the record straight on Government’s cycling funding… after he got it wrong

Transport Minister Shane Ross has corrected the record for the second time on the allocation for cycling and walking in Budget 2020 — and he has confirmed that a previous figure he gave for cycling funding was for both walking and cycling.

October 9 he has said €114m was being set aside for cycling. But this week, in a written parliamentary reply, the transport minister said that this figure includes both walking and cycling, including leisure walking and cycling projects such as greenways.

On October 9, Minister Ross tweeted: “Cycling from #Budget2020 receives €114m which includes €9m from carbon tax measures. Anyone claiming #cycling fund next year just €9m not at the races.”

IrishCycle.com reported the €9m in the budget as an increase, not the full amount — one of the main sources of confusion seems to be the Government’s MerrionStreet.ie twitter account on Budget Day:

This week, Minister Ross was responding to written parliamentary questions by Catherine Martin, Green Party deputy leader and Dublin Rathdown TD, and Marc MacSharry, a Sligo-based Fianna Fáil TD.

In the ministerial reply, Shane Ross said: “I am aware there has been some confusion in recent weeks as regards Budget 2020’s allocations to support active travel and greenway. I can confirm that Budget 2020 has allocated €91 million to the two principal active travel funding programmes which are mainly administered through the National Transport Authority. This is a significant increase on Budget 2019’s allocation of €48 million toward the same two programmes.”

He said: “Separately there is also a €23 million allocation for the Greenways programme, which supports leisure-orientated walking and cycling. This is a significant increase on Budget 2019’s allocation of €13million toward the same programme.”

“Together these three funding programmes total €114 million next year and that includes the €9 million additional allocation, split evenly across active travel and greenways programmes, which arises from the introduction of carbon tax measures,” the Minister said.

He added: “The Deputy will be aware that allocations made available under these funding programmes do not capture all public expenditure dedicated to active travel (or leisure-orientated walking and cycling); it also benefits from funding provided under BusConnects, the roads programmes, the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund, the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund and the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme and from the tax incentive available under the Cycle-to-Work Scheme.”

I am editor of IrishCycle.com and have reported on and commented on cycling in Ireland for over a decade. My background is in journalism -- I have a BA in Journalism from DCU and HDip in Print Journalism from BCFE. I wrote about cycling for national newspapers, and then started CyclingInDublin.com for overflow stories. Later the website was re-branded to reflect a more national focus.

3 Comments

  1. So… how much does cycling get? Will Mr Ross clarify that. Also, what’s the breakdown on how this money on cycling is spent? Will it be spent on actual infrastructure or instead wasted on some useless ‘educational’ advertising nonsense?

  2. Cyclist.ie met with smarter travel officials last week in an attempt to tease out the actual proposed spend on cycling specific infrastructure projects in 2020.
    The department seems unable to declare the specific capital spend proposed for just everyday cycling projects in 2020. All we can get is the ‘active travel’ and greenway quanta.

  3. Citizen Wolf – The best estimate is €42 million for cycling in 2020 excluding BusConnects contribution.

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