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The roads logjam

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,511 ✭✭✭KrisW1001


    The Green Party is not the root cause. Neither the 2x for PT nor the 1x for roads is getting used. If it were Greens diverting budgets as claimed, then you'd see more progress on things like BusConnects, but those projects are mired in the same swamp of planning.



  • Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 14,380 Mod ✭✭✭✭marno21


    Well the Dept of Transport has a Green Minister. And there is 10 road projects which have been told not to be funded for 2023 due to Ministerial direction.

    Even if we were to get to the point of saying the Minister is doing nothing wrong, it's also the job of the Minister to oversee the implementation of the NDP, the parts he likes and the parts he doesn't. If there are NDP elements that cannot proceed due to stuff like this, the Minister could communicate to the Minister in charge of the NDP and ask him to allocate additional funds to relieve bottlenecks.

    The issue of funding for the aforementioned 10 projects is quite small in relative terms. It's not a major ask.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,511 ✭✭✭KrisW1001


    Bluntly, whether or not a project is funded doesn't matter when the projects that are being funded go nowhere.

    It's a bit of a reach to blame the current logjam on one single person. This is a systemic issue. If the rest of the system was working, then I'd be happy to point to Ryan as the point of failure, but in a parallel world where he was a rabid petrolhead, we'd have the same delays.

    Where Ryan really fails is in communicating. I've heard him several times, and he's afraid to say anything positive about road-building, despite signing off on some pretty big projects. The hard-Green element in the party won't accept any road-buidling (because they got their ideas from the USA and German environmental movements, in countries with fully developed road networks, where "building a road" always means "add capacity for private cars"), and Ryan has to prevent a revolt, so that means telling nobody anything. It's not acceptable for a minister, but he's not the only one or the first one to do this.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,106 ✭✭✭hans aus dtschl


    Your post is far more eloquent than how I can write it.

    Coming at this from the side I come from (trying to get more active transport over the line) almost everything is completely bogged down. A lot of active travel projects that were supposed to be completed years ago are still not started.

    I am tired of commenting on this because I fear people will think I'm in some way supporting the Green party or something (I'm not) but I really don't believe that a different minister will see a different outcome here in the short to medium term unfortunately.

    If Ryan had the pull that people say, then we wouldn't need to fight so hard for all the no-brainer "green" projects. It's not just down to one person. Even Shane Ross escapes the blame!



  • Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 14,380 Mod ✭✭✭✭marno21


    That is a very nuanced post by @KrisW1001 and I thank him for it.

    My one rebuttal is this:

    It's a bit of a reach to blame the current logjam on one single person. This is a systemic issue. If the rest of the system was working, then I'd be happy to point to Ryan as the point of failure, but in a parallel world where he was a rabid petrolhead, we'd have the same delays.

    Before the last election, Shane Ross was unanimously regarded as a horrendous Minister for Transport. Yet the roads programme largely moved well in that time because the highly competent people in their roles to do this were left undisturbed. Sure, there were delays and there was no one actively fighting to address some bottlenecks but in his time almost 20 projects commenced planning, several started construction, several went to ABP etc.

    Take the Donegal TEN-T schemes for example. In Shane Ross time they went from concept through route selection and when he left they were to go to ABP in H1 2021 (e.g. in 6 months time). They still haven't gone to ABP, 3 years later.

    We now have an activist Minister actively working against his own agencies meddling in affairs. [1] Shane Ross was incompetent, but he wasn't this.

    [1] - https://www.limerickpost.ie/2022/04/28/limerick-distributor-road-excluded-from-revised-transport-plan/



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  • Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 14,380 Mod ✭✭✭✭marno21


    Coming at this from the side I come from (trying to get more active transport over the line) almost everything is completely bogged down. A lot of active travel projects that were supposed to be completed years ago are still not started.

    In which case I would much rather the MInister focus his energy on moving on PT and AT projects and rather than one minute of his time obstructing road projects. I think anyway he has far too much on his plate and being over Transport, Energy, Communications and Climate Action is too much for one person.

    I am tired of commenting on this because I fear people will think I'm in some way supporting the Green party or something (I'm not) but I really don't believe that a different minister will see a different outcome here in the short to medium term unfortunately.

    This disappoints me because you are a very good contributor with excellent knowledge down to local level and your posts are always welcome here.

    If Ryan had the pull that people say, then we wouldn't need to fight so hard for all the no-brainer "green" projects. It's not just down to one person. Even Shane Ross escapes the blame!

    It was made clear in the Oireachtas Transport Committee 3 weeks ago that he has used his powers to limit funding of 10 projects. It isn't conjecture and is clearly happening. As I have been posting since, local elected reps are not happy and there has been outbursts now in Cork (Mallow, N25), Kerry (N22), Monaghan/Louth (N2 x2), Sligo/Mayo (N17).

    There is a reasonable acceptable in these areas that delivery of these projects in the last 10-15 years has been difficult due to the recession, and the subsequent deficit and desire to see a balanced budget. People are not so understanding when told these areas and their roads projects will be sacraficed on the alter of carbon emissions targets.



  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    I guess it depends on your perspective. If you look at the work he's done for AT & PT investment, infrastructure, design guidelines, legislation etc, he's easily one of the most effective Transport Ministers the country has ever had....by a wide margin and thanks to major changes to how the likes of the various Transport Strategy doc's for the major cities are put together (i.e prioritising PT & AT and removing road building as an element of the strategy), his impact will be felt for many years to come in those cities



  • Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 14,380 Mod ✭✭✭✭marno21


    his impact will be felt for many years to come in those cities

    I have a holistic approach to transport investment. I believe investment in roads, public transport and active travel is all required, and there are specific uses for all 3. Sensible investment is required, and we can't have a functioning country without all three. I don't believe it's a zero sum game, and investment in roads doesn't mean no investment in PT, and investment in PT shouldn't involve a culling of roads spend. Ireland is a low density island with a population of people who like living in non dense living configurations.

    (i.e prioritising PT & AT and removing road building as an element of the strategy)

    The bulk of public transport provision in the four cities outside Dublin will be provided by the bus. Buses travel on roads. They're not just outlets for motorists to emit carbon. They're also required to provide alternative routes for road traffic so that city centre areas can be prioritized for buses, pedestrians and cyclists. Limerick is not Tokyo and it will never be Tokyo no matter how much Green Party TDs want to apply the transport planning approach of Tokyo to Limerick.

    his impact will be felt for many years to come in those cities

    Absolutely because there will be widespread implementation issues due to no alternative routes for road traffic, which isn't going to go away by wishing it away. We've had this discussion ad nauseum on the M6 GCRR thread.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,106 ✭✭✭hans aus dtschl


    Oh I'm totally with you, I don't think Ryan's necessarily doing a good job. In particular I think his communication strategy is actually unethical: this is public money and people deserve to know what decisions are being made, and why they're being made. I have no time for this thing of him stopping 10 of the projects going ahead on an arbitrary basis as the TII are saying, I think that's totally wrong. No question in my head. And I agree he probably has too much under his jurisdiction, particularly energy.

    I appreciate the kind words Marno and you know I hugely value your input to the forum (posts and moderation) too, it should almost go without saying. But I'm weary of being the one always on "defending" Ryan, so to speak. Particularly when I don't know much about what's going on in the background: the guy could be a real horror show within the department for all I know!

    But from what I can see we've got a huge systemic issue which goes back to that big gap in projects being delivered for a decade or so, compounded by a stupid decision to put private housing developments directly through to ABP. We need that to never happen again, or future ministers will have similar problems.

    In terms of what more Ryan could potentially do for Active Travel, the issues I'm seeing appear to be ABP and courts for the largest part now. I'm not sure if he can fix those any faster? From what I can see the old "whipping boys" of Local Authorities, TII, NTA and government are not to blame for the backlogs any more. If anything I'm seeing new plans going through approval and I'm thinking that we're not going to see them under construction for a decade.

    And in Ryan's favour, it's the first time in 20 years that I've seen rail infrastructure improvements. It's the first time in my life I've seen active transport infrastructure projects go through that aren't pure tokenism! The NTA who previously treated sustainable transport as something of a joke seem to be changing their tune. Even the local authorities are starting to come round to think of things holistically. So for that I'll definitely give him some praise. It definitely shouldn't be "no more roads" obviously enough, though!



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,872 ✭✭✭Chris_5339762


    I agree with all of this, and perhaps I'm being overly unfair against Mr Ryan blocking every road project under the sun. The fact is though, that he has effectively suspended 10 due to his own decision.

    And sadly, although I agree he has done a lot for active travel in terms of bicycles, and battery powered train purchases, the simple fact is that a Green minister for transport will have delivered 0cm of new rail projects in his tenure. Yes, ABP and all that, but I'm nowhere near as Green as him and if I was MforT I would have gotten planning going on Navan Rail within a week of starting. Its not just roads he's holding up, but it appears to me to be everything apart from cycling. He should be knocking down the door of ABP to get green transport projects pushed through.



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  • Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 14,380 Mod ✭✭✭✭marno21


    I appreciate the kind words Marno and you know I hugely value your input to the forum (posts and moderation) too, it should almost go without saying. But I'm weary of being the one always on "defending" Ryan, so to speak. Particularly when I don't know much about what's going on in the background: the guy could be a real horror show within the department for all I know!

    I have been complimentary to him also where it's due, and to GP members down the ranks where it's due. The work done on the Cork Suburban Rail since they took Government has been remarkable, especially given their lack of TDs in Cork. The Cork suburban rail has been talked about for years but there's finally now work on the ground, and the planning application due next year will put everything together. They will have a long lasting legacy for such a positive contribution to Cork city and environs when it gets built.

    But from what I can see we've got a huge systemic issue which goes back to that big gap in projects being delivered for a decade or so, compounded by a stupid decision to put private housing developments directly through to ABP. We need that to never happen again, or future ministers will have similar problems.

    ABP is a significant issue. But there is a significant amount of red tape in the Department, and also due to the Public Spending Code which could be resoved. That's been a long standing issue but Ryan's tenure has added to it (see N22 Farranfore-Killarney delays).



  • Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 14,380 Mod ✭✭✭✭marno21


    I agree with all of this, and perhaps I'm being overly unfair against Mr Ryan blocking every road project under the sun. The fact is though, that he has effectively suspended 10 due to his own decision.

    I should add that 4 of these projects have been flagged for being particularly prone to fatal and serious head on collisions. I think these should be prioritised for this reason alone, even more so after another fatal accident on one of them last weekend.

    And sadly, although I agree he has done a lot for active travel in terms of bicycles, and battery powered train purchases, the simple fact is that a Green minister for transport will have delivered 0cm of new rail projects in his tenure. Yes, ABP and all that, but I'm nowhere near as Green as him and if I was MforT I would have gotten planning going on Navan Rail within a week of starting. Its not just roads he's holding up, but it appears to me to be everything apart from cycling. He should be knocking down the door of ABP to get green transport projects pushed through.

    To be fair to him, I don't think it was possible to delivery any major rail projects in his time in office. These projects have timeframes that span multiple Government terms. He's limited structurally by what he can achieve on his own in terms of delivery. But as you also point out, blocking roads projects doesn't deliver public transport projects any faster.

    The only time I've seen him discuss anything with ABP in public was him telling them not to approve Shannon LNG. A project he has apparently done a U turn on when he enters the realm of the real world.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,495 ✭✭✭Hibernicis


    A few excellent posts there. 

    Looking at the thread title, a logjam suggests an impasse, where a bunch of stuff has got jumbled up and jammed. And a single action or group of actions can unjam the situation and resolve it in a reasonable timeframe. That is not what this is. The hiatus that is now approaching is the result of a deliberate strategy and will take a decade to sort out. 

    Ryan is probably the most successful minister in the current government, viewed in terms of his own bigoted objectives. He, quite brilliantly, got that two for one deal at the outset, which gave immense leverage in many different ways, both negative and positive. He has managed by various means, some more subtle than others, to undermine TII and drive road construction into a swamp from which it will take years to recover. He continues to run down the clock on projects, stalling them by any means possible. He has largely avoided the fallout that goes with total abandonment of major projects, a clever move given the parochial way in which politics works and instead focussed on delaying projects, spreading finance thinly and directing it to where it has least effect. Sure, he has lost a few battles and a few projects have slipped through. But his impact has been far greater than is immediately apparent. This is often the case where somebody has a negative agenda. He is determined to stop road construction. Not just deliver on public and active transport, or the wider green agenda. But very specifically to stop roads. 

    It has been clear from the start of his term that he learned a lot of lessons from the Green Party’s spell in government with FF where they were at best a mudguard and at worst they became the crap that was used to fill potholes and get driven over. The biggest fear is that he will retain the office after the next election. 

    I’m an environmentalist, spend a lot of time in the countryside, support most of the green agenda and I’m certainly a green with a small “g”. Travel by rail, where viable, has always been my first preference for business and leisure and I believe we urgently need a functional well designed well connected and integrated public transport system. And as a lifelong cyclist I love what is being done on active travel. But we also need roads to function, now and in the future.  And we will need roads long after the combustion engine has been consigned to history. What is happening at present is anti-democratic, and dare I say it is only happening because the larger parties in government have lost all momentum and are sleeping through this (and many other) crisis and allowing Ryan to run rings around them.

    For me, the graphic of page 87 of this document say it all, especially when you eliminate the ochre and magenta (the desk based stuff) – that is where we are at today. https://www.tii.ie/news/press-releases/opening-statement-28-06/JCTC_28June2023_Opening_Statement-and-Appendices.pdf



  • Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 14,380 Mod ✭✭✭✭marno21


    An excellent post above.

    It has been clear from the start of his term that he learned a lot of lessons from the Green Party’s spell in government with FF where they were at best a mudguard and at worst they became the crap that was used to fill potholes and get driven over. The biggest fear is that he will retain the office after the next election. 

    Me too. A lot of people are worried about SF for various reasons but a lot of the clownery from the Greens (all 3 Green Party Ministers have looked terrible in terms of handling issues within their Department this year alone) can't be much worse. A lot of FF + FG backbenchers will regret having to answer for some of their policies before the next election, especially in constituencies such as my own (Kerry - maybe Kerry South after August).

    Post edited by marno21 on


  • Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 14,380 Mod ✭✭✭✭marno21




  • Registered Users Posts: 53 ✭✭cartoncowboy


    I wonder will he bother showing up for that meeting. He rarely appears in the Dail to answer transport questions these days, with TDs bouncing questions about their cancelled roads to the stand in of the day "Thank you deputy, I'll pass all your comments onto the minister"..... What a joke.



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,872 ✭✭✭Chris_5339762


    Did he bother showing up or did anything come of this at all?



  • Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 14,380 Mod ✭✭✭✭marno21


    Looks like it hasn’t happened yet

    €36bn to get to 10% of passenger trips by rail sounds like poor value for money. It’s almost as if the Minister has an ideology of using trains that isn’t going to bear out in reality



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,106 ✭✭✭hans aus dtschl


    One for the rail thread, but there does seem to be some kind of lack of reality around long-distance rail in this country. We can all agree that the airports, ports and suburban networks desperately need to be expanded, and also that the cities need fast (better) connections.

    However rail isn't going to be the answer to all of our problems and I think there's a bit of "square peg, round hole" going on.



  • Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 14,380 Mod ✭✭✭✭marno21


    It’s definitely for the rail thread but also here. Varadkar’s comments have driven the usual anti-roads suspects absolutely demented on Twitter I see.

    It reinforces the fact that roads are very important for transport in Ireland. I have never heard a greater argument for roads investment than “we plan to invest €36bn in the rail network and after that we still will have 90% of passenger trips and 94% of freight trips by road”.

    It also reinforces the fact that having a bike salesman as Minister for Transport whose entire approach to transport policy is “steel wheels good, rubber wheels bad unless there’s only 2 of them” is deeply out of touch with the reality on the ground in Ireland



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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,106 ✭✭✭hans aus dtschl


    Maybe we're being overly negative due to the rail review document release yesterday: I'm convinced that there's huge opportunities for commuter rail and that we should absolutely pour money into that. And I'm convinced that we need rail integration at Dublin airport. But connecting far-flung towns via rail isn't a realistic strategy to me.

    In my mind with this document they've basically undermined the very real urgent need for large-scale rail investment over a long-term period, by including a load of "dream" stuff.



  • Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 14,380 Mod ✭✭✭✭marno21


    Indeed. No solution to Bray Head but a rail line from Mullingar to Portadown sums it up.

    But we are getting off topic here and I am the culprit.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,106 ✭✭✭hans aus dtschl


    Yep it's a bad document for a bunch of reasons. The aspiration towards getting people out of cars is good. De-prioritisation of car travel (and parking) in suburban and urban areas makes perfect sense. The hope that rail can become the primary transport mode for small towns is less than realistic. You'd wonder, when looking at the document, whether its stakeholders just did a hit-job on sustainable transport to the benefit of roads investment :D



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,706 ✭✭✭roadmaster




  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    I wonder what the excuse will be then when the same ratio if not worse, exists in terms of road spending



  • Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 14,380 Mod ✭✭✭✭marno21




  • Registered Users Posts: 23,625 ✭✭✭✭Kermit.de.frog


    The problem the Greens have is that they are not keeping to the deal on that. They are proving to be untrustworthy coalition partners.

    If you sign a deal you need to stick to it. This govt won't last 18 months because of the Greens.

    After the next election there'll be changes particularly in transport. We'll start getting roads and some PT delivered.



  • Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 14,380 Mod ✭✭✭✭marno21


    ‘Do these f***ers not read the news?’: Coalition rift sparked by Varadkar comments on rail plan 


    The arrogance of these people defies belief at times.



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,598 ✭✭✭Charles Babbage


    If there is a 2:1 ratio because of Metro North, Dart Underground, doubling or quadrupling of track on the approach to urban centres, new rolling stock etc then fine. But if the 2 is mainly badly designed cycle lanes, then the 1 is never going to be appropriate.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,511 ✭✭✭KrisW1001


    Cycle lanes are so cheap to build that you could never make up the 2x with them.

    Rail, on the other hand, has a very high upfront cost (our use of a different track spacing to most of Europe/UK doesn't help keep costs down either...), and 2x mightn't go that far at all..



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