Social Democrats TD for Wicklow Jennifer Whitmore has called for a significant increase in investment in Local Link services across Wicklow. Deputy Whitmore was responding to information she received from the NTA stating that funding for Local Link services in Wicklow had not increased from 2019 figures.
“Figures sent to me by the NTA indicate that funding in 2020 for local link services in Wicklow was €615,028, the same figure as in 2019. This indicates that no increase in investment has taken place for Local Link services in the county despite demand for more bus services increasing. I hope that Budget 2021 funding will rectify this and put the Local Link service on a path of expansion across the county.
“Local Link routes are so important for a variety of reasons including local economic development and tackling rural isolation. They perform an invaluable service for our elderly, those that don’t drive and students in helping them get around. And now with our local shops struggling, it’s going to be more important that people can easily shop in their locality, using Local Link to get around.
“Crucially, Local Link routes will also help us achieve our climate action goals and reduce car dependency in the county. The demand for alternatives to cars is there. The NTA’s recent report on local link usage in Wicklow reveals how successful the new routes have been here and shows that when you put in place alternatives they will be used so long as the alternative adequately services an area.
“We need more local link services across the county including in West Wicklow but this will mean ratcheting up investment by Government to enable NTA services like Local Link to be rolled out further. It is disappointing that figures show no increase was made in last year’s Budget but I hope funding from Budget 2021 will go towards further roll out of Local Link services.
“We are in a climate and biodiversity emergency but Government funding for major infrastructure projects is not currently reflecting this. I have requested a meeting with the NTA and hope to meet with them to push for greater investment in local link services for the County as well as other transport projects that will reduce car dependency in Wicklow” concludes Whitmore.