Area Development Management Limited, or ADM, administers the rural transport initiative, or RTI, on behalf of my Department. Specific allocations for individual RTI projects are made by ADM from funds provided for this purpose by my Department. A total of €6 million has already been provided for the RTI in the two-year period ending December 2003 and further funding of €3 million is being provided in 2004. This compares favourably with the €4.4 million earmarked up to 2006 for the RTI under the national development plan.
All 34 community transport groups being funded under the RTI are now fully operational and I understand from ADM that an external body has now been commissioned to undertake a full appraisal of the initiative. Among other things, the purpose of the appraisal is to measure the effectiveness of the RTI in addressing the transport needs of rural Ireland and in providing value for money. I will consider the results of the appraisal, which is due to be completed by the summer, before making any further policy decisions on rural transport.