I wish to query the Government's road building capability. The national development plan was launched with great fanfare a few years ago and we were told we would have dual carriageways everywhere by 2006. We were promised there would be no more delays and that our infrastructure, which the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment described as being of Third World standard, would be upgraded. We were told we had nothing more to fear. Unfortunately, we are only three years away from 2006 and we have fallen far behind schedule. People are wasting their lives stuck in cars due to congestion, while incurring massive insurance costs.
The Government's record in this area is not good. According to recent reports, over 20 major projects are ready to begin, but the Government has failed to provide the necessary funding. I hope the Minister of State will clarify this matter in his response. I would also be grateful if the Minister of State would clarify the Government's commitment to the national development plan. During the last general election campaign, there was grave confusion and blatantly opportunistic politicking by Fianna Fáil and, in particular, the Progressive Democrats in the south east in relation to the N9 from Kilcullen to Waterford. Deputy O'Donnell recently spoke in the south east and stated that the Progressive Democrats had made no promises in the last general election. She said they were made by the Fianna Fáil boys. This is not the truth and I seek clarification on the status of the major intercity routes connecting Dublin, Cork and Waterford.
How do we plan to upgrade these roads? We are being told by some Progressive Democrats that they feel these projects are a waste of money. If this is the case, why is the NRA making almost €3 million available to Kilkenny County Council to progress the southern end of the N9 motorway? Why is the NRA providing €2 million to Kildare County Council with regard to the same project? Why are landowners being told one thing only to find that the opposite happens? Landowners are badly affected by the road and they deserve to know where they stand. While it is awful to have a motorway built on one's farm, especially if one is involved in dairying, if one knows one is to be compensated and when that compensation will be paid, one can plan ahead and move on. Landowners cannot do that at present as certain politicians are making mutually exclusive statements.
I hope the Minister of State will clarify the status of the major interurban routes as well as the commitment of the Government to honour the promise it made to the people in the national development plan to improve our infrastructure.