The National Transport Authority and Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan and Minister of Sate Hildegarde Naughton have today 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 11th which has already designated €240m to Dublin, the GDA and regional cities.
Today’s announcement is the first ever major active travel investment programme for rural Ireland. The €72.8m announced today for rural counties, is greater than the entire 2019 funding for national walking and cycling programme. The NTA had originally earmarked €50m for this scheme but due to the volume of project proposals being developed by local authorities, it has been increased to over €70m.
Senator Aisling Dolan noted
‘This is an amazing injection of investment in East Galway for footpaths and cycleways, significant government funding for safe places to walk & cycle.
‘In most of our towns within a kilometre in built-up residential areas – we don’t have footpaths. Galway is the 2nd largest county in Ireland 6,149km sq, and Galway County Council has struggled to get projects across the line. I would like to pay tribute to our roads engineers and technicians within each of the municipal districts who put forward worthy and deserving projects to benefit the community.
‘For the Ballinasloe Municipal District I’m delighted to see funding for East Galway towns. Cathaoirleach Peter Keaveney has worked closely with communities particularly on the Clonberne & Glenamaddy projects. With €348,000 investment in footpath improvements for Mountbellew, Menlough & Clonberne and €475,000 in new footpaths in Glenamaddy Caltra, Ardrahan, Ballinderreen and Garrafauns.’
Cathaoirleach of Ballinasloe Municipal District Peter Keaveney noted
‘It is fantastic to see this much needed investment for towns in East Galway. A number of these projects such as Clonberne didn’t receive funding in previous years however I persisted to ensure that it was included here for Active Travel. The funding for Glenamaddy is very welcome and it will make a real difference to the lives of people in these areas’
The Fine Gael Senator Aisling Dolan continued
‘In Ballinasloe 2 footpath projects have been funded at €770,000 with additional amounts of €245,000 for public transport (shared with Loughrea) and this will fund the bus-stop for the town as well as €370,000 for Active Travel Network Plans shared with Tuam, Oranmore, Loughrea and Headford.
The first footpath project for Ballinasloe is close to my heart, I am delighted to have worked and prioritised safe footpath access for up to 200 families in Cúil na Canalach, Oak Glen, Old Mill Road in Poolboy & Beechlawn Heights. This will also develop a safe circular walking route for all residents within a couple of kilometres to the 2nd largest town in Co. Galway.
‘Brothers of Charity which supports adults with intellectual disabilities manage a number of residential homes in both Oak Glen and Cúil na Cánalach with planning approved for a new home in Old Mill Road in the Poolboy area as well as a number of other residential homes in Derrymullen on the far side of Ballinasloe. A Training Opportunities & Personal Education Resource Centre (TOPE) is located in Cúil na Cánalach and mini-buses bring people to and from this centre. A TOPE Rehabilitative Training (RT) is located in Oak Glen in Poolboy. I’d like to thank Sharon Carty, Deborah Gill from Brothers of Charity & Accessibility Ballinasloe and Sarah Reynolds from Suas Advocacy Services for their support.
This investment of €460,000 close to half a million is the largest investment into the Poolboy area in decades if not lifetimes and will bring more people to safely see scenic routes along the banks of the River Suck to the old Grand Canal Bridge and the Poolboy lock which allows the boats to come into Ballinasloe Marina. And perhaps in time we will also see a fantastic Cycleway coming along the Grand Canal into Poolboy & Ballinasloe.
The second footpath project in Ballinasloe at €310,000 will improve footpaths in Aughrim, Kilconnell and along the Shannonbridge road. These projects will take place over the next 2 years and I would like to pay tribute to our engineers and roads team at Galway County Council who took the time to make strong submissions to this programme and ultimately win over €6 million for communities across Co. Galway. Minister Eamonn Ryan and Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton also took an important decision at government level to increase this fund from €50 million to €70 million and we can see the impact here for our local towns.
‘This Walking & Cycling Fund benefits our towns and villages outside of city-centres and this investment makes our towns and villages safer to walk & cycle for all in our community. It makes it even more attractive in this time of remote working to consider a better quality of life for you and your family by making the move and discovering excellent schools, clubs and a wonderful community spirit that makes it the place I call home. It shows how East Galway and the West is a fantastic place to live, to work and to visit.’
Speaking at today’s announcement Minister Ryan said:
“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.”
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.
Anne Graham CEO of the NTA said:
“Today’s allocation provides more funding to rural areas than ever before. The sum today is larger than the entire walking and cycling budget for 2019, which shows a clear demand for this type of infrastructure across the country.”
General projects in the scheme include the reallocation of overall road space which will include segregated cycling lanes and widened footpaths. Cyclist parking, raised pedestrian crossings and reducing road width at crossing points as well as other improvements.
The NTA will be tasked with overseeing and supporting the development of the high-quality 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.
The fund will be administered for the Department of Transport by the National Transport Authority.