Walking and cycling funding allocations for towns, villages and rural areas increased to €72.8 million compared to and expected €50 million.
The full list can be found here (PDF).
Much of the funding includes footpath renewal and crossings, and forward planning for networks of cycle routes in town and rural areas.
There are some cycling route projects listed but at this stage it’s unclear of what quality these will be. Concern is continuing among campaigners that large volumes of funding is being released without proper quality control or even updated interim guidance. The NTA recently rejected an FOI request on the details of projects in cities which were funded separately.
The funding is being allocated by Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan via the National Transport Authority and is part of the Green Party promise for nearly €1 million per day to be spent on walking and cycling for the lifetime of the coalition Government. The city and Greater Dublin Area was previously announced.
The €72.8m will be spit between 340 projects across 19 local authorities. It as being billed by the Government as “the first ever major active travel investment programme for rural Ireland”.
The fund will be administered for the Department of Transport by the National Transport Authority.
The funding includes to counties: Carlow, Laois, Longford, Louth, Kilkenny, Offaly, Westmeath, Wexford, Clare, Kerry, Tipperary, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon, Sligo, Cavan, Donegal, and Monaghan.
Minister Ryan said: “Today’s allocation marks another significant step forward in providing green sustainable transport options to those outside of the large urban centres.
“Developing high quality walking and cycling facilities will encourage more people to switch to active travel and will contribute to tackling climate change. Connecting communities and making walking and cycling attractive, safe and accessible to everyone is what this funding will help to accomplish,” he said.
He added: “The projects being funded today will make a real difference to rural communities across the country and this is only the beginning. I look forward to seeing these projects progress over the coming year and to developing high-quality walking and cycling networks over the course of this government.”
Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton said: “Today’s funding has a particular focus on rural Ireland; underpinned by Government’s commitment to spend almost €1m per day on walking and cycling projects, this funding will support the roll out of high-quality active travel infrastructure in rural towns and villages right across the country. I am particularly pleased to see specific projects receiving funding as part of the Safe Routes to School programme which we launched earlier this month. This safe and accessible infrastructure will ensure that our local communities are better connected, and that healthier forms of travel continue to become a more attractive choice.”
Anne Graham CEO of the NTA — who claimed recently that cycle route guidance was safe to the shock of TDs and campaigners — said: “Today’s allocation provides more funding to rural areas than ever before for active travel. The sum today is larger than the entire walking and cycling budget for 2019, which shows a clear need for this type of infrastructure across the country.
She added: “It also represents a very significant opportunity for our partner local authorities to develop high-quality, safe walking and cycling infrastructure in rural towns and villages. As with our announcement on the 11th of February much of the funding announced today represents new projects for authorities. We look forward to working with them through the next stages of development of these key projects .”