The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of the relevant County or City Council, 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. The initial selection and prioritisation of works to be funded is a matter for each Council.
Before the financial crisis, local authorities could apply on a regular basis for grants for Specific and Strategic Improvement Grants to improve roads. However, the extent of the cutbacks in grant funding during the recession meant these grant schemes had to be curtailed after 2013 because expenditure on maintenance/renewal was falling well short of what was required to adequately maintain the regional and local road network.
Project Ireland 2040 does provide for the gradual build up in funding for the road network but it will take some time yet to reach the level required for the adequate maintenance and renewal of the network. For this reason there is limited scope at present for funding projects under the Specific or Strategic Grant Programme.
Any projects proposed by local authorities for consideration under the Specific or Strategic Grant Programmes are assessed by the Department on a case-by-case project basis and must comply with the requirements of the Public Spending Code and my Department's Capital Appraisal Framework.
This year Specific Improvement Grants totalling €15.2 million were announced in February.