I thank the Senator for raising the issue. He is correct that I have family in Bandon, as my brother and my sister both live there. My brother is a publican. The Senator referred to the flooding in the town and my brother's premises has been flooded three times. I know acutely the difficulties the town has experienced with flooding. I am glad that the Office of Public Works and Cork County Council have a plan in place to remedy the issue.
As I did to Senator Robbie Gallagher, I apologise to the Senator for the absence of the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Deputy Shane Ross, who has responsibility for overall policy for and funding of the national roads programme. The planning, design and implementation of individual national road projects is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland, TII, formerly known as the NRA, under the Roads Acts 1993 to 2015, in conjunction with the local authorities concerned. Within its capital budget, the assessment and prioritisation of individual projects are matters, in the first instance, for TII in accordance with section 19 of the Act. As I stated previously, Ireland has 100,000 km of road in its network and the maintenance and improvement of national, regional and local roads places a substantial burden on local authorities and the Exchequer. Given the national financial position, there have been very large reductions in Exchequer funding available for roads expenditure in the past few years. For this reason, the focus has been on maintenance and renewal rather than new improvements.
The capital plan published in September 2015 outlined proposed transport investment priorities to 2022. The transport element of the plan was framed by the conclusions reached in the Department's strategic investment framework for land transport. This report highlighted the importance of maintenance and renewal of transport infrastructure together, with targeted investments to address particular bottlenecks and critical safety issues. The capital plan provides €6 billion for investment in the road network in the period to 2022, with €4.4 billion earmarked for the maintenance and strengthening of the existing road network throughout the country and €1.6 billion for new projects, as I stated earlier to Senator Robbie Gallagher.
There will be a significant ramp up in funding from 2020, which will facilitate the construction of the road improvement projects included in the plan. In that context, a number of important projects in Cork are included in the plan, including the upgrade of the Dunkettle roundabout and the N22 road between Ballyvourney and Macroom. In addition, the plan also provides that the N28 upgrade scheme will commence, subject to necessary approvals.
The Minister understands from Transport Infrastructure Ireland that while it is aware of the N71 Bandon relief road extension as a potential improvement scheme, owing to a lack of funding, it is not in a position to progress the scheme. While available funding is not sufficient to address all the demands for improvement schemes, including schemes such as the Bandon relief road extension, by the end of the plan period, the Minister expects capital funding for the road network to be back up to the levels needed to support maintenance and improvement works in the future.
On the possibility of additional funding within the plan period, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform indicated in the Budget Statement that he would bring forward a capital review. As I stated in the previous debate, there is a strong case for additional funding for the transport sector which the Minister will make. I know exactly the position in Bandon. The existing relief road is not sufficient to meet the needs of the town. Towns throughout the country are in a similar position. The Leas-Chathaoirleach is familiar with Adare, Abbeyfeale and Newcastle West in my constituency and they are in the same position. We must try to progress the projects as best we can. I will bring the issue raised by the Senator to the attention of the Minister. The total estimated cost for the project, according to the Department, is approximately €7.5 million. It might be possible for the Senator to have an opportunity to discuss the matter directly with the Minister. I will certainly seek to arrange this.