Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Questions (615)

Seán Sherlock


615. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason the Fota road was not included in Project Ireland 2040; and his plans to include it in funding in 2018. [9478/18]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads in its area is a statutory function of local authorities 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 projects to be funded from these monies is a matter for each local authority. 

In the aftermath of the financial crisis there were major cutbacks in funding for the national, regional and local road network. This resulted in the severe curtailment in funding for road improvement grant programmes, including the strategic grant scheme, in order to focus available funding on maintenance and renewal work. 

The Building on Recovery capital plan 2016-2021 and the capital plan review allocations mark a significant step forward in terms of restoring funding to the levels needed to maintain the road network in a “steady state” condition and allowing for some investment in road improvement schemes but it is going to take time for funding to build up to the required level.  For now funding will largely continue to support the maintenance of the regional and local road network. While a limited number of improvement projects are scheduled to go ahead over the next few years, funding is not available to commit to additional schemes at this point.  All available grant funding for 2018 has been allocated.

The National Development Plan does note that local authorities have plans the progress a range of projects on regional and local roads and includes examples of such projects.  My Department will be liaising with local authorities in relation to possible future projects for development in the post 2021 period and the appraisal requirements in relation to such projects.