Need to ensure adequate land transport investment to support economic growth and development
Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, Paschal Donohoe, T.D., has today (Friday) published a draft strategic framework for investment in land transport for consultation.
The draft framework was drawn up by a steering group which set out to establish priorities and principles to guide future land transport investment decisions. The findings and conclusions of the work undertaken will contribute to the development of a new multi-annual capital funding framework 2015-2019 and subsequent capital funding programmes. However, the work considers investment requirements over the period to 2040 and will, therefore, also contribute to investment decisions over the longer term.
Key areas of work undertaken and considered by the steering group in drawing up their findings include:
· Considering the evidence base on the link between economic growth and transport investment, and the return on previous investment in an Irish context;
· Examining current transport investment levels relative to past funding levels and international norms;
· Establishing the ‘steady state’ investment requirement, which is the funding necessary to maintain, manage and renew the existing land transport infrastructure to keep it at its current standard, together with capital commitments; and,
· Determining the scale and nature of transport demand in the medium to long-term and the impact of such demand on our network.
The evidence from these areas of work, combined with an assessment of transport and demographic trends, provides the basis for the findings of the steering group. From these findings a set of principles is proposed to frame and prioritise land transport investment decisions.
The report finds that a key challenge with regard to future investment in land transport is the need to secure investment levels that are consistent with maintaining, renewing and improving a transport network that can efficiently support the economic and social needs of the country.
Minister Donohoe said: ‘This work highlights a number of important issues with regard to transport investment. For example, it clearly outlines the value of capital investment in transport, and that investment in good transport projects provides a return on investment and, ultimately, jobs. It also shows that our present levels of investment are not consistent either with our own historic norms, or with the investment levels of our peers. However, perhaps the most striking message is the scale of the gap between available funding levels and the level of investment that is necessary to maintain the existing transport network in adequate condition, even if all available funding is used to keep our existing infrastructure in its current state’.
“Given such constraints, we have to ensure that all transport investment is focused and prioritised to secure the most advantageous outcomes for our economy and our people. However, we must also be alert to the fact that underinvestment in transport does adversely impact on our competitiveness, our potential for economic growth, and indeed the welfare of our citizens.
“This report does not set policy. It points to the current constraints within which policy decisions must be made. As such, I hope it leads to an informed debate and period of consultation to advance the best decisions for current and future transport investment in Ireland.”
The framework document and its associated environmental documents are available for download at http://www.dttas.ie/corporate/publications/english/public-consultation-investing-our-transport-future or to view at the Department’s Leeson Lane offices. The consultation process provides interested parties with an opportunity to contribute before the framework is published later this year. Submissions should be sent to SFILT@dttas.ie by Thursday 16th October 2014.