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17th April 2019 | Press Releases, Transport

Government failure on public transport is pushing Ireland towards traffic and climate standstill: Greens

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Government mismanagement of transport is creating ever more debilitating gridlock and risking future fines for emissions.

The Green Party are today calling for a total change in the way we invest in transport – turning it 2 to 1 in favour of public transport.

This investment will ease congestion, reduce commuting times, connect communities and unlock public transport projects that are sitting on the shelf under this Government.

The situation with transport is urgent. Our capital city has been ranked as the third worst city globally for gridlock with commuters spending 250 hours stuck in cars travelling less than 10km per hour. Ireland also faces multi-million Euro fines for failing to meet our emissions targets and transport is contributing significantly to that.

Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan TD said:

“Everyone can see that our transport system has serious problems, but the government’s solution is completely back to front. The lack of effective public transport is pushing people towards cars. This is leading directly to greater gridlock in our cities and isolated people in rural areas.

“We deserve better and that requires better vision. The National Development Plan envisages total expenditure on land transport infrastructure of €20.6 billion up to 2027, with only €8.6 billion of that allocated to public transport. We need to turn the tables and instead invest 2 to 1 in favour of public transport.

“We need to massively increase capacity in our public transport system, freeing up space on our roads, easing congestion, and helping to curb vehicular emissions. And that goes for rural areas too, which have been neglected for far too long.”

Green Party Deputy Leader Catherine Martin TD said:

“The problems facing our transport system obviously come with a huge economic cost, but there is a human cost too. Our quality of life is being eroded with longer and longer commutes. Instead of spending time with our loved ones, we are spending hours stuck in traffic.

“There is also the quality of our air to consider. Greenhouse gas emissions from transport increased by 140% between 1990 and 2017, and they are projected to grow by 20% from 2017-2030. Putting more cars on our roads is no longer a serious option.”

 

Note to the editor

The Green Party motion calls on the government to:

– prioritise the expansion of public transport spending over new road infrastructure spending at a ratio of no less than 2-to-1 to facilitate the broader availability and uptake of public transport options with special attention to rural areas;

– ensure that all public transport routes operate as part of an integrated, interconnected national public transport system;

– ensure that all public transport services are accessible and useable by all

– establish specifications for rural public transport to connect populations to the national public transport system based on population size;

– Investigate innovative rural public transport options and learn from existing pilot projects;

– include the assessment of the implications for greenhouse gas emissions in all assessments and evaluations of transport expenditure;

– revise Project Ireland 2040 accordingly;

– ask the National Transport Authority to revise the Greater Dublin Area Transport Strategy;

– consider the following for inclusion in the National Development Plan:

    • completion of the restoration of the Western Rail Corridor;
    • Cork Luas, reopening of suburban rail stations in Cork, river buses, and a more extensive bus and cycleway network than currently envisaged;
    • Galway Light Rail and a more extensive bus and greenway network in Galway;
    • development of a local rail service on the four railway lines serving Limerick;
    • a comprehensive local bus network for Waterford;
    • completion of the restoration of the Dublin to Navan Railway;
    • the Dart interconnector; and
    • Metro West;

 

– consider the restoration or opening of other rail lines for inclusion in the National Development Plan;

– bring forward a plan for large scale investment in urban, interurban and rural bus systems;

– bring forward a plan for major modernisation and improvement of the rail network, including electrification of main lines, with goals of modernisation of all lines, increasing frequencies, and reducing journey times below two hours for trips between Cork, Belfast, Limerick, Waterford and Dublin and below 1h30m between Galway and Dublin;

– ensure good quality access to public transport by foot and bicycle; and expand the bicycle sharing systems in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Limerick, and establish new systems in other cities and towns, especially centred on rail and bus stations.