First rise in public transport spending since 2008
Published 14/10/2015 | 02:30
The Government has handed out the first increase in spending for public transport services since the start of the financial crisis.
An extra €28m is being funnelled into public transport projects via Public Service Obligation funding.
The 14pc increase reverses about half of the cuts in public transport spending that took place between 2011 and 2015, some €53m.
The extra money will be spent on addressing urban traffic congestion, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Paschal Donohoe said.
Most of it will be used for new buses and routes by Dublin Bus and Bus éireann.
Some will go to the Phoenix Park Tunnel project, which will be operational by next summer, and to service improvements for Dublin's Dart train line.
"The growth in the economy, which is seeing a corresponding increase in passenger demand for services, means that a more appropriate level of funding for our public transport sector is needed," said Mr Donohoe.
"If we fail to provide for adequate services, we run the risk of hampering our future economic growth".
Overall, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has €1.74bn to spend in 2016 - a rise of €125m, or 8pc, on last year.
Spending on sports will rise by 40pc, to €126m. Some of this will go towards the completion of the National Indoor Arena, which is on track for completion next November.
Regional airports will get a boost, as the budgets for Donegal, Knock, Kerry and Waterford will increase to €12.6m to include safety and security related projects.
Mr Donohoe said he had always indicated support for the extension of Waterford's runway and that discussions on this were under way.