Speaking ahead of the debate, Alliance Party Finance Spokesperson, Dr Stephen Farry MLA stated:
“Over two-thirds of the transport budget in Northern Ireland goes on roads, with less than a third left for investment in public transport. This is the opposite balance to many other countries and regions in Europe , and is clearly not sustainable.
“Rather than getting better, this imbalance is set to get worse. Over the lifespan of the draft ten-year Investment Strategy, 80% of resources are set to go on roads.
“It is understandable that the Executive wants to improve the transport infrastructure, but there are real dangers of applying 20th Century solutions to 21st Century problems.
“Public transport in Northern Ireland has for too long been the poor relation. Our competitors have all invested heavily in their public transport infrastructure. There are obvious economic and environmental imperatives from doing so.
“Public transport is the only effective way of dealing with congestion. You cannot build your way out of it. Transport has grown dramatically as a source of carbon emissions in recent years. Areas of Northern Ireland now have some of the worst carbon footprints in the UK. Public transport is much more environmentally sustainable.
“As the opposition within the Assembly, it is part of our role to identify these fundamental flaws in government policy. We are committed to rebalancing our economy, and are ambitious to modernise our economy.
“The challenge for the Assembly, and in particular the Regional Development Minister, is to first recognise the scale of the problem, and to commence the process of rebalancing the budget. Failure to address this issue will only contribute to continued stagnation.”