Transport Must Support Economy: Murphy

A network of modern transport facilities must be available as Ireland emerges from recession.

That's according to the North's Transport Minister, Conor Murphy who said the country's transport network must be ready to support the economy as it continues to move out of recession.

Mr Murphy was speaking at the Ireland Transport Conference in Dublin.

"Our ability to attract future inward investment depends on the quality of our infrastructure," he said.

"It is clear that we need to invest in modern transport systems and infrastructure to support our economic recovery and meet future needs."

Outlining the investment that his Department is making to the road and public transport network, Mr Murphy said: "Under the Executive in the North, we have seen transport investment grow to record levels, and the improvements are obvious.

"We also have to address the increase in emissions and congestion, and have a transportation system that can accommodate future demands of both people and business without impacting further on the environment.

"We need to change our travel behaviour and start using public transport more, or car sharing, for longer journeys and walking or cycling for shorter trips.

"Some 90% of public transport journeys are made by bus, and therefore depend on the road network.

"A good quality road system is a key element in the transport infrastructure of the region and there is a need for the network to be improved and to be properly maintained.

"Both Governments are committed to important strategic roads projects such as the A5 and A8, which will considerably improve travel times."

He continued: "If we continue to invest in public transport and in infrastructure such as park and ride sites, motorists will be encouraged to take the bus or train for the main part of their journey and reduce the volume of traffic on the network.

"Similarly, the development of more pedestrian friendly environments and improved facilities for cyclists will make active travel such as walking and cycling more attractive options for others," he continued.

"As people switch in significant enough numbers, congestion can be reduced and business, the economy and the environment will all benefit."

The Minister concluded: "Transport is a front line service on which our economy and society depend.

"We must not cut public investment in transport in the belief that this is the quickest way to balance the books, but we must invest in a better, smarter and sustainable way."


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