Improved public transport infrastructure must be in place before a potential tax on motorists is even considered, according to a local TD. Deputy Emer Higgins said the relevant stakeholders must work together to improve the quality and efficiency of our transport networks ahead of any new legislation or potential new taxes aimed at reducing car use to meet our climate emissions targets. Deputy Higgins said: “Any plan for the country’s future transport needs must continue to prioritise improving public transport infrastructure, instead of placing further pressure on motorists in terms of additional cost.
“We know additional measures are required to further incentivise a move away from diesel and petrol fuelled journeys. “But viable alternatives are required that people will use to really encourage them to leave the car at home and to be able to rely on a public service transport system both in rural and urban areas. “Indeed, it is welcome to see the Minister for Transport arguing within his own Department that the first response should not be the use of congestion charge and that we must increase the provision of public transport.
“Projects for the greater Dublin area including The DART+ programme and the MetroLink, which involve major investment through the National Development Plan, are vital to improving the quality and efficiency of our transport networks. “BusConnects and Luas extensions will also give people viable transport alternatives and lead to increased sustainability within our communities in the future.
“There must be a renewed commitment to ensuring these projects are expedited with additional funding in line with rising construction costs and inflation to ensure there are no setbacks or undue delays. “Not all citizens currently have good access to public transport, and we need investment on those public transport routes that run infrequently, particularly in suburban areas and also in rural towns and villages. “We need a transport plan that works for commuters, businesses and retailers, and visitors to our city centre, as well as meeting our obligations under the Climate Action Plan.”