Transport Strategy must deliver improved public transport
Sinn Féin Regional Development spokesperson, Raymond McCartney MLA speaking in response to the close of the consultation on Sub Regional Transport Plan 2015, has called for a step change in the provision of public transport and for road maintenance to be prioritised as an essential component of delivering a co-ordinated response to the deaths on our roads.
The consultation outlines transport provision measures to include urban and rural areas, walking, cycling provision, highway maintenance, road safety measures.
Mr. McCartney said:
"This consultation is a direct result of need for greater provision of public transport because of the continued dependency on the car.
"There is a clear statement of intent to improve road safety through a joined up approach. However, a localised strategy will only succeed if the proper delivery mechanisms are set in place including a step change in the provision of public transport and the prioritisation of road maintenance expenditure as an essential component of delivering a co-ordinated response to the deaths on our roads.
"Sinn Féin also have serious concerns that the draft plans for the development of rail infrastructure is totally inadequate, with need for the substantial development of the rail network in the North and West almost totally ignored. This draft consultation needs to listen to concerns raised in all subsequent responses, none more important than the well documented view of the Quarry Products Association who have raised justified concerns about the huge reduction in the money available to maintain and sustain the road network, particularly the rural roads network."
The Sinn Féin Assembly Member has also outlined the need for greater transport in rural communities, increased accessibility for disabled people, and further concessions for vulnerable groups.
"The success or indeed failure of any transport plan is the ability of all users to access the mode of transport which best suits his or her needs. Despite the attempts to incorporate Other Urban Areas (OUAs) and Rural Areas and a policy framework highlighting all Ireland solutions, that essential to rural communities throughout the Border Corridor region, this draft policy falls a long way short of what is required.
"People living in rural communities face considerable barriers because of weak transport infrastructure and this has a huge social and economic impact. Transport, and access to essential services are a major issue and it is crucial that greater cross border and community transport based solutions are introduced where need is greatest.
"Both the British and Irish governments have a responsibility to deliver a sustainable all Ireland response to the transport deficit. Transport is clearly identified as an Area of Co-operation under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement; policy makers know this yet continually fail to overlook the fact." ENDS