Written Answers. - Road Network.

Emmet Stagg

Question:

293 Mr. Stagg asked the Minister for Transport if he or his officials have indicated to the National Roads Authority, particular roads projects which should be prioritised for funding; if so, the details of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19299/03]

In the context of the annual block grant for national roads projects made available to the National Roads Authority through the Estimates this year, I asked the NRA in determining the allocation of funding to individual road schemes in 2003 to give priority to projects on the major inter-urban routes, PPP projects and projects in the BMW region. This request reflected the need to maintain progress on upgrading the key inter-urban routes linking the major urban centres; the importance of getting some of the PPP projects to construction so as to maintain good market interest in the PPP programme given the significant level of private sector funding which the programme will bring to the national roads programme, and the need to restore more balance in the investment in national roads as between the southern and eastern and BMW regions.

These priorities are in line with the strategic framework set by Government in the NDP for the development of the national roads network. It is a matter for the NRA, within this framework, to allocate funding to individual projects having regard to the funding available. It is important to note that the priorities set for the 2003 allocations do not require the NRA to allocate all the funding available to these priorities nor do they preclude the NRA from funding other priority projects across the national road network.