Under the rural transport initiative, RTI, 34 rural community groups are being financed to operate pilot rural transport services in their areas. Area Development Management Limited, ADM, administers the initiative on behalf of my Department and makes specific allocations to individual project groups from funding provided by my Department. The RTI is now operational in almost all counties and it is for each RTI group to decide on the specific services to be funded from its allocation.
As many of the RTI pilot projects only became fully operational in 2003, the scheme has recently been extended to the end of 2006 in line with the principal recommendation of an evaluation report undertaken by Fitzpatrick's economic consultants and the ending of the national development plan. The extension will facilitate a more comprehensive appraisal of the initiative to take place at that stage. It would be premature, therefore, to consider an expansion of the initiative until the pilot phase has been completed.