Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath has said that the Government is committed to investing in the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy but that urgency is needed in the development of certain areas of the plan.
Speaking in Cork on Monday, Minister McGrath said that there will be “very significant investment” in active travel measures, pedestrianisation, and cycling facilities which he said there is already evidence of but that “there are some big-ticket items that we do need to press on with including the plans for a light rail”.
His comments came after he told Cork Chamber’s Business Breakfast Live event last week that with a budget of €11 billion for next year “there will be a lot of money available to get things done” in Cork as part of the National Development Plan (NDP) but that there had to be a focus on the “bottlenecks and delays in the system in getting projects through the pipeline”.
Asked if he believes Cork is on target to future-proof the city as a place to live and work for its growing population, he said: “I think we are. It is a really ambitious plan and I want to commend the Lord Mayor, all of his colleagues on Cork City Council and the Executive for the outstanding work they are doing in driving it forward towards implementation.
It is a plan out to 2040 but what you will see from Government is a real commitment to investing in CMATS and I’m confident that that will be reflected in the National Development Plan.
Minister McGrath said that he is “delighted” that plans to invest in a commuter rail network for Cork have been approved by the European Union under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan.
“I am confident that we will see great progress in the next number of years on implementing CMATS to make it an enjoyable place to visit and make it easier for people to get into and out of and to move sound our city and I think Cork City Council, the National Transport Authority, and TII are doing a great job and they have the full backing of Government in the implementation of that plan,” he said.