Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Questions (595)

Eamon Scanlon


595. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if consideration will be given to reducing the financial contribution in respect of the community involvement scheme from 15% to 5% or 10 % as per the local improvement scheme making it more palatable to the general public and allow longer roads to be upgraded at reasonable cost; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22071/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

Firstly I would like to explain that the maintenance of regional and local roads (RLR) is the statutory responsibility of each local authority, in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on those roads are funded from local authorities' own resources supplemented by State road grants.  The initial selection and prioritisation of works to be funded  is also a matter for the local authority. 

As regards the Community Involvement Scheme (CIS), the Department introduced ring fenced monies for CIS as part of a pilot programme over the years 2013 to 2014. Due to overall road funding cuts it was not possible to provide ring fenced funding for CIS in the period 2015 to 2017. However in 2018 ring fenced funding was again introduced and funding of €15.3m has been allocated to local authorities in 2019 for CIS.

The CIS is based on community contributions within the range of 15% to 30% and the purpose of the CIS is to facilitate local community participation in the repair of local roads. The focus of the programme is on the repair of more lightly trafficked public roads which would not be high on a local authority's list of Restoration Improvement work schemes and where there is no short term prospect of undertaking repair works under that programme. 

The renewed CIS programme for 2018/2019 took account of the earlier pilot study and put in place a reasonable mix in terms of public funding and community contribution (either by way of monetary contribution or through the carrying out of works). The scheme worked very well in 2018 and my Department has no plans to change the conditions of the scheme or the community contributions associated with the scheme.   It should be noted that an increase in the contribution funded from the public purse would mean that less communities would benefit from the scheme overall, as each road would require a larger share of the overall provision.

My Department has recently invited local authorities to submit applications for CIS for a further two year programme in the period 2020/2021. The terms and conditions of this further funding programme are the same as the existing CIS programme.