As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. The planning, design and implementation of individual road projects is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) formerly the National Roads Authority (NRA) under the Roads Acts 1993 to 2007 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.
The transport elements of the Capital Plan in the period to 2022 were announced in September and decisions on road projects included in the Capital Plan were framed by the conclusions reached in my Department's Strategic Investment Framework for Land Transport (SFILT). This report highlighted the importance of maintenance and renewal of transport infrastructure together with targeted investments to enhance the existing network through improving connections to seaports, to poorly served regions, to large-scale employment sites, and addressing critical safety issues. Importantly, the Plan includes projects targeted at removing critical bottlenecks subject to planning. In framing the Capital Plan choices had to made given the overall funding envelope available.
Maintenance and renewal of the road network continues to be the main priority and €4.4 billion of the planned €6 billion road capital budget will be spent on such essential work.
I appreciate that this will not address all demands for road renewal and improvement but it does strike in my view a reasonable balance given the available capital envelope and very importantly over the period of the Plan capital funding for land transport, including roads, will be built up towards the levels needed to support adequate maintenance and development.