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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 210-216
 Header Item Smarter Transport
 Header Item Railway Stations
 Header Item Road Improvement Schemes
 Header Item Road Projects
 Header Item Private Bus Operators
 Header Item Road Safety Authority
 Header Item Taxi Regulations

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 828 No. 2

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Written Answers Nos. 210-216

Smarter Transport

 210. Deputy Derek Nolan Information on Derek Nolan Zoom on Derek Nolan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the progress of Galway County Council's application for funding under the active travel towns funding scheme 2014 to 2016 for a town in County Galway (details supplied); when a decision will issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [4407/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Alan Kelly): Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly Galway County Council submitted three separate proposals under the Active Travel Towns Funding Programme 2014-2016 one of which was for the town of Athenry, the other two being for Gort and Loughrea. A total of 37 applications from local authorities were received under this second tranche of funding to implement the Active Travel Towns Initiative. All proposals have been considered by an assessment panel as part of a competitive process set against agreed criteria.  A decision and announcement of the successful projects under this funding programme is expected in the coming weeks.

Railway Stations

 211. Deputy Timmy Dooley Information on Timmy Dooley Zoom on Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the intended start date for construction at a rail stop at Crusheen on the Ennis to Galway line; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4450/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The Government's capital investment programme to 2016 prioritised the funding available for transport to protect investments made to date and to maintain safety standards. The limited funding available over and above this priority was to be allocated to projects which are affordable, meet overall transport objectives and deliver the best return in terms of economic recovery and job creation.

On the heavy rail side the bulk of the funding is required for rail safety and renewal. However the Plan did include funding for new rail stations at Kishogue, Hansfield, Oranmore and Crusheen.  To date Hansfield and Oranmore stations have been opened while planning issues and other delays have  hampered progress at both Kishogue  and Crusheen.  Capital funding for Irish rail was also reduced in 2012 to support the emergency funding required by the CIE Group at that time.  This led to a re-prioritisation of the heavy rail capital projects and to a longer delivery time line for some projects including the new rail stations. Notwithstanding  the difficulties it is my intention that a rail stop at Crusheen will be provided within the life time of the current capital programme.  

Road Improvement Schemes

 212. Deputy Michael McGrath Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar in the context of the €23.1 million of funding announced for specific and strategic regional and local roads projects, if he will consider providing funding to enable the Carrigaline western relief road in County Cork to proceed to construction stage.  [4463/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads, in its area, is a statutory function of each road authority in accordance with the provisions of section 13 of the Roads Act, 1993.  Works on such roads are a matter for the relevant local authority to be funded from its own resources supplemented by State road grants.     

  I announced the 2014 regional and local road grant allocations last week and Cork County Council has been allocated €91,000 towards the Carrigaline Western Relief Road in 2014. 

Road Projects

 213. Deputy Paudie Coffey Information on Paudie Coffey Zoom on Paudie Coffey asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the progress that has been made on the provision of a service station on the M9 motorway between Dublin and Waterford in the interest of traffic and road safety; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4473/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. The construction, improvement and maintenance of individual national roads, including service areas, is a matter for the National Roads Authority  under the Roads Acts 1993 to 2007 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned. Section 54 of the Roads Act 1993 specifically provides for the National Roads Authority or a local authority to provide and/or operate service areas.  

I have, therefore, referred the Deputy's question to the National Roads Authority for direct reply.  I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a reply has not been received within ten working days.

Private Bus Operators

 214. Deputy Dessie Ellis Information on Dessie Ellis Zoom on Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the reason for the tendering of 100% of contracts for bus routes in the Waterford city area when other areas are only tendering 10%; if he will provide a breakdown of these routes; and the way they will be decided upon.  [4530/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The issue raised is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the NTA for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Road Safety Authority

 215. Deputy Michael McCarthy Information on Michael McCarthy Zoom on Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar when the Road Safety Authority's office will open on Newry Road in Dundalk, County Louth; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [4533/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I assume the office to which the Deputy refers is the proposed Driver Testing Centre for Dundalk.  As this is a statutory responsibility of the Road Safety Authority, I have referred the question to the Authority for direct reply.  I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a response has not been received within ten days.

Taxi Regulations

 216. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will support a matter (details supplied) regarding taxi funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4548/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Alan Kelly): Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly The regulation of the taxi industry is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) under the Public Transport Regulation Act, 2009. The NTA is the lead agency with responsibility for implementation of the recommendations of the Taxi Regulation Review Report 2011.

The Taxi Regulation Review Report, 2011 made a number of recommendations aimed at addressing the lack of availability of wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs) to meet the transport requirements of people with a disability and reduced mobility. In particular, Action 20  of the Report recommended a review of existing specifications for WAVs to establish whether an adjustment to the current WAV standards would assist in increasing the supply and availability of WAVs.

The NTA has prepared draft taxi regulations that will consolidate and replace the existing regulations, in addition to some new regulations. The draft regulations include provisions relating to vehicle standards for WAVs aimed at introducing a wider range of lower cost vehicles with a view to increasing the supply and availability of WAVs. The NTA is currently conducting a public consultation on the draft regulations that will conclude on 31st January 2014.

The Mobility Allowance and Motorised Grant Scheme are the responsibility of the Minister for Health and the Disabled Drivers and Passengers Tax Concessions Scheme is operated by the Revenue Commissioners.


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