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Written Answers. - Rural Transport Initiative.

Tuesday, 26 November 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 558 No. 1

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 100. Mr. O'Dowd Information on Fergus O'Dowd Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd  asked the Minister for Transport Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan  his plans to introduce new rural transport initiatives. [19254/02]

 155. Mr. Wall Information on Jack Wall Zoom on Jack Wall  asked the Minister for Transport Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan  the steps he has taken to implement the commitment in the programme for Government that every county has a comprehensive rural transport initiative in place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23469/02]

[177]Minister for Transport (Mr. Brennan): Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan I propose to take Questions Nos. 100 and 155 together.

The rural transport initiative, RTI, was introduced by my predecessor in 2001 to provide funding for voluntary and community organisations and community partnerships to address the particular transport needs of their rural area by actively engaging in the provision of transport services. The initiative is being managed by Area Development Management Limited, ADM, on behalf of my Department.

Eight of the applicant community transport groups under the initiative were considered by ADM to be sufficiently well developed in their business plans at the time of their initial appraisal to be selected for operational funding in 2001. Most of these groups are providing or soon will be providing rural transport services in counties Carlow, Cavan, Clare, Cork, Kerry, Kildare, Kilkenny, Leitrim, Meath, Offaly and Tipperary. I understand that some 80 new transport services have been established to date under the RTI.

Rural transport proposals from a further 24 community groups went through an initial pre-development funding phase and they have recently been approved for operational funding. The groups selected represent counties Cavan, Cork, Donegal, Dublin – Fingal – Galway, Laois, Limerick, Longford, Mayo, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, Tipperary, Waterford, Westmeath, Wexford and Wicklow. I am advised that the assessment process in respect of two other projects remains to be completed.

The operational phase of the rural transport initiative was formally launched last Friday, 22 November, during a two day training event organised by ADM for the successful community transport groups. Some €3 million will be spent on the RTI this year and a similar amount is earmarked for 2003, when the pilot initiative is due to end.

An interdepartmental committee under the chairmanship of my Department was established in 2001 with the remit of bringing forward options for the development of rural public transport policy. The committee commissioned a study on this subject which I understand is nearing completion, and I expect to be presented with the findings of the study before the end of the year. This study, together with the experience gained from the RTI, will enable me to formulate appropriate policies for rural transport for the period beyond 2003.

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