Transportation Issue Get Ministerial Attention

Island-wide transportation was in focus this week as executive ministers from both parts of Ireland joined forces to look ahead to a 'radical transportation solution'.

Stormont Minister Conor Murphy, in his role as Minister for Regional Development, tackled developing transport networks and connecting people and places in the all-island economy.

His opposite number, Noel Dempsey, the Dublin Minister for Transport and the Marine gave his address looking at the issue of building a sustainable transport future for Ireland.

Delivering a speech at the Transport Ireland Conference in Dublin, the Northern Ireland Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy said: "Radical decisions on the future of our transport network need to be taken in order to address the serious issues of climate change, sustainability, congestion and connectivity in rural and urban areas across this island.

"The decisions will not be easy. It will require us all to make tough choices about our transport, now and for the future," he insisted.

"Economies depend on their transport system. And in this economic downturn, public transport has never been more important - offering commuters and customers a good value alternative to get to work, or to the shops," the Sinn Féin politican continued, noting that transport is responsible for around a quarter of our greenhouse gas emissions.

He said: "We have a very real need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the transport sector to meet the challenge of climate change, which is not just about the environment."

Sharing a platform with Minister Noel Dempsey, Mr Murphy outlined planned investment in transport in Northern Ireland and said: "We have already invested in newer, cleaner, and, crucially, more accessible buses and in better stops.

"We are investing in new trains and improving the track between Ballymena and Derry.

"At the same time, the more passengers on public transport, the fewer people in their cars. Good for the economy, good for the environment," he said, underlining that "we need public transport that is modern, clean, comfortable and affordable".

Mr Murphy also outlined the review of the Regional Transportation Strategy.

"The revised strategy will set the outcomes and key areas for action for transport in the North of Ireland.

"It will ensure a proper balance between the needs of people and the needs of business, between supporting the continued growth of our industrialised east and ensuring the sustainable development of our rural west and between developing our economy and protecting our environment and tackling climate change," he said.

See: Transport Ireland 2009


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