As the Deputy is aware, the improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of the relevant local authority in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on those roads are funded from the Council's own resources supplemented by State road grants.
There were major cutbacks in funding for the road network in general during the recession. Project Ireland 2040 provides for a gradual increase in grant assistance for regional and local roads and there has been a significant increase in Exchequer funding particularly in the last two years. However, the amount available is not sufficient to achieve “steady state” levels of investment. For this reason, there continues to be very limited scope for funding road improvement projects under the Specific and Strategic Grant Programmes.
Any projects proposed by local authorities for consideration under the Specific/Strategic Grant Programmes are assessed by the Department on a case-by-case basis. All projects put forward by local authorities for consideration must comply with the requirements of the Public Spending Code and the Department's Capital Appraisal Framework (CAF), including the submission of project appraisals. Given the limited funding available for RLR improvement works it is important for local authorities to prioritise projects within their overall area of responsibility with these requirements in mind.
All applications received from local authorities for grant allocations have to be assessed taking into account competing projects and the available budget. No project application has been received in relation to the R178 Shercock to Bailieborough road.