As regards current funding levels, the Building on Recovery Capital Plan 2016-2021 marked 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. In this context the Capital Plan provided for a gradual build up in capital funding from a relatively low base towards the levels needed to support maintenance and improvement works. This Plan recognised that it was going to take time to restore funding to the level required to maintain and renew the network adequately.
As Minister I put forward a strong case for additional investment in transport infrastructure during the Capital Plan Review process and I secured a significantly enhanced road investment programme for the period 2018 to 2021. Overall an additional €486 million was secured for roads bringing total roads investment for that 4 year period to €4.26 billion. The National Development Plan also identifies investment in the maintenance and renewal of transport infrastructure as a priority, with a specific commitment to €4.5 billion in relation to local and regional roads.
As noted by the Deputy, the Programme for Government provides that the Government will set aside €100 million in additional capital funding for investment in the Wild Atlantic Way, Greenways and a number of other initiatives. This commitment covers a number of funding programmes and Departments - not solely the Wild Atlantic Way.
Following from the mid-term review of the Capital Plan, an amount of almost €108 million is being provided for tourism product development in the period from 2018 to 2021. This allocation will provide for continued capital investment by Fáilte Ireland in their experience brands, including the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland's Ancient East. It will also enable Fáilte Ireland to commence work on the development of a brand for the Midlands region as a separate proposition to sit alongside the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland's Ancient East.