I propose to take Questions Nos. 91 and 126 together.
As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for overall policy and Exchequer funding regarding the national roads programme. Once funding arrangements have been put in place with TII under the Roads Acts 1993 to 2015, and in line with the national development plan, NDP, the planning, design, improvement and upgrading of individual national roads is a matter for TII, in conjunction with the local authorities concerned. TII ultimately delivers the national roads programme in line with Project Ireland 2040, the national planning framework and the NDP.
In the new NDP launched in October 2021, approximately €5.1 billion is earmarked for new national roads projects to 2030. This funding will facilitate improved regional accessibility and will also support compact growth, both of which are key national strategic outcomes in the national planning framework. The funding will provide for the development of a number of national roads projects, including the completion of projects which are already at construction stage and those close to it, as well as the development of a number of others. The N25 Carrigtwohill to Midleton project is included in the list of projects to be evaluated for potential prioritisation during the period covered by the NDP.
Due to the fact that the greater portion of the NDP funding for roads projects becomes available in the second half of the decade, there is a constraint on the funding available for new projects this year. However, most national road projects in the NDP will continue to be progressed in 2022. Projects such as the N25 Carrigtwohill to Midleton road, which do not have the required funding to progress this year, remain part of the NDP and will be considered for funding in future years. With regard to the current status of the preparatory work on the project, I am advised by TII that technical advisors have completed their assessment of the route options for the N25 project and have determined the preferred solution. Improvements to crossings over this busy section of the N25, to improve safety and enhance active travel, are being considered as part of the scheme. Given funding constraints, it will not be possible to progress the project to design and development of the business case this year. The delivery programme for the project will be kept under review for next year and considered in terms of the overall funding envelope available for the national roads programme.
I am aware that the Deputy raised this issue on Leaders' Questions. I think he was concerned that the Department had not responded to him. I wanted to find out about that and went into it in some detail myself. Indeed, I happened to have a meeting with TII today, where we discussed this and other projects. There are a number of projects - around eight - on the NDP which are not proceeding with further funding this year. That does not mean that they will not proceed in the future. We have a particular problem with the cost inflation that is happening now. We will not be able to build a fraction of the roads projects that are at various planning stages. It is important that we manage our budget and funding, and do not create false expectations in that regard. In respect of two of those projects, namely, the N24 from Kilkenny-Waterford towards Cahir and the N4 Longford to Mullingar, we agreed to complete and conclude some of the work there because those projects had not come to a final preferred route selection. It was unfair, particularly with the likes of the N24 project, where there might be six route corridors where land would be frozen, and people and farming and those looking to build housing would be affected, and so on. It was agreed to complete those projects to the final stage to get them to the same stage at which this particular section of roadway is, where there is a preferred route. I have looked at the red route - the Deputy obviously has detailed knowledge of it - that runs parallel, in effect, to the existing dual carriageway which would be converted to a local road system. I will come back to the Deputy on the detail. I have looked into it in quite some detail and I know the area well. It is one of those roads. We are going to have the problem that with cost inflation in road construction and with the huge number of projects that are at various stages in the planning process, we will not be able to build everything immediately. We should be open and honest about that.