As I indicated in response to a previous question from Deputy MacSharry, the improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of each local authority, in accordance with the provisions of section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on these roads are funded from local authorities' own resources, supplemented by State road grants. Regional and local road grant allocations are finalised following the publication of the Revised Estimates Volume and take into account the expenditure outturn on projects and programmes in the preceding year.
As Minister, I have to work within the budget available to my Department. The 2020 allocations will reflect that. That being said and while the Revised Estimates Volume has not been published as yet, I anticipate additional funding for regional and national roads in 2020.
As in previous years, my objective will be to allocate funding to eligible local authorities on as equitable a basis as possible taking the length of the road network and traffic factors into account. The main focus of the grants will continue to be maintenance and renewal of the regional and local road network with a view to making progress towards steady-state levels of expenditure.
The allocations under the various grant programmes will be announced as early as possible in the new year.
In addition to increasing the moneys available for roads, it is important to manage those moneys effectively. In this context the Department reviews and updates its memorandum on grants for regional and local roads on a regular basis. This document seeks to ensure good value for money in respect of road grant expenditure.
In recent years, my Department has also supported a road asset management system, MapRoad, for regional and local roads. As part of this process, a road management office, RMO, was established as a shared service between the 31 local authorities. The RMO and the Department have been working with local authorities to ensure that the MapRoad pavement management system includes: an up-to-date road schedule of public roads; a record of all pavement-related works; and information on road surface types and road pavement condition.
The road pavement condition information generated by the MapRoad system forms the basis for the NOAC performance reports.
The objective of the MapRoad pavement management system and the NOAC reports is to provide the data needed for evidence-based prioritisation and management of both annual work programmes and multi-annual programmes by each local authority in their capacity as the statutory road authority for their area.