The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads, in its area, is a statutory function of each road authority in accordance with the provisions of section 13 of the Roads Act, 1993. Works on such roads are a matter for the relevant local authority to be funded from its own resources supplemented by State road grants. The initial selection and prioritisation of works to be funded is also a matter for the Council. My Department received an application from Kildare County Council in November 2008 for 100% funding of the Athy Southern Distributor Road. A grant of €150,000 was allocated to the Council in 2011 to allow certain design and planning work on this project to be undertaken. I am advised that the total cost of the project is in excess of €34 million. As the Deputy will appreciate, given the current financial circumstances, I am not in a position to give any commitment regarding the provision of further funding for this project in the future. I am aware of the importance of this road to Athy and to the south Leinster region. If and when the financial position of the state improves I would like to be in a position to support the advancement of this project.
The 2012 regional and local road grant funding has now been fully allocated and there are no further funds available from which an additional allocation could be made. I will announce the 2013 regional and local road grant allocations early in the new year. It is open to Kildare County Council to progress this project through its own resources.