County councils around Ireland were only able to spend 36% of allocated greenway funding in 2021, although this spending reached 75% of the allocation last year, according to a Freedom of Information request released to IrishCycle.com.
For 2021 councils were allocated €78.5 million but only spent €28 million, while for last year they were allocated €57.1 million and spent €42.5 million.
In 2023, €64 million was allocated and so-far just over €10 million has been spent — this is no indication of how much will be spent as councils drawdown most funding towards the end of the year.
While urban projects are funded on a national level to councils via the National Transport Authority, most greenway and some non-urban projects are funded via Transport Infrastructure Ireland, the State agency which looks after national roads and light railways.
Transport Infrastructure Ireland also funded some smaller-scale projects which local councils were still struggling to spend the money on last year.
The allocation for these Active Travel projects was less than half spent in 2021 and was significantly ramped up in 2022 and again less than half of the funding was spent by the end of the year.
In 2021 this funding amounted to just under €956,000 but just over €374,500 was drawn down in 2021. Last year this funding was ramped up to €4.3 million but just over €2 million was spent in 2022.
This year, €12.5 million was allocated and so-far just under €718,000 has been spent — again, most of the drawdown is usually towards the end of the year, so, this is not an indication of what will be spent this year.
Sean O’Neill, a spokesperson for TII, said: “There has been a significant increase in funding for active travel projects throughout the country over the last few years. TII along with our Local Authority partners are committed to delivering these projects as quickly as the regulatory approval process allows.”
He added: “Funding will be invested appropriately as projects move ahead. Funding availability does not always align with the regulatory approval process.”