The National Transport Authority (NTA) and Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan have today (Monday, March 29) announced spending totalling €72.8m for 340 sustainable transport projects in 19 local authorities.
The funding is in addition to the multi-annual active travel investment programme announced on February 11, which has already designated €240 million to Dublin, the GDA and regional cities.
Today’s announcement is “the first ever major active travel investment programme for rural Ireland”.
Originally earmarked less
The €72.8 million is greater than the entire 2019 funding for national walking and cycling programme, according to the NTA.
The NTA had originally earmarked €50 million for this scheme but due to the volume of project proposals being developed by local authorities, it has been increased.
Speaking at the announcement, 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.
“The projects being funded today will make a real difference to rural communities across the country and this is only the beginning.”
Fianna Fáil Senator for Roscommon/Galway Eugene Murphy has welcomed the funding, saying:
“Now more than ever during these difficult Covid times we all realise and appreciate the importance of using our walking trails and cycle lanes to keep fit and get outdoors for fresh air, as it is extremely important for both physical and mental health.
People are appreciating facilities and amenities in their own areas now which is fantastic, and this latest funding will help make those sustainable forms of transport safer and more accessible for everyone.
The NTA will be tasked with overseeing and supporting the development of the mobility infrastructure across all projects.
The authority will also ensure that projects are “accessible, age-friendly and maximise comfort to people of all ages and abilities”.