Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Questions (754, 755)

Tony McLoughlin

Question:

754. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport regarding his recent announcement that local authorities could re-establish the LIS scheme, if he will consider establishing revised guidelines in view of the fact that there will be a wide variance from one local authority to another. [10142/13]

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Tony McLoughlin

Question:

755. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will consider providing a specific fund for LIS schemes rather than asking local authorities to provide for this scheme from their existing roads budget, the 2013 scheme announcement came without specific funding and in turn some local authorities did not proceed in many cases. [10143/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 754 and 755 together.

The Local Improvements Scheme provides funding for the maintenance and improvement of private roadways which are, in the first instance, a matter for the relevant landowner.   State grants available to supplement expenditure by local authorities on the maintenance of regional and local roads have been reduced significantly and there will be further cuts over the next few years.  The scale of the cuts have necessitated that some grant programmes be curtailed or ended.  In making adjustments to the regional and local roads allocations the primary aim has been, as far as is possible, to protect previous investment in the road network and use the available funding to maintain and restore public roads, including those in rural areas. 

Nothwithstanding the above, the Local Improvement Scheme has been reinstated for 2013. However there is no separate allocation available towards this grant category.  Instead local authorities may use up to 7% of their Discretionary Grant towards local improvement schemes should they wish to do so.  The local contribution for these schemes has been increased to a minimum of 20% of the total cost of the project.  Apart from this amendment the same eligibility rules apply for these schemes as heretofore.  If the Deputy has any particular suggestions with regard to guidelines, I would be happy to hear them.