Thursday, 21 November 2019

Ceisteanna (209)

Niamh Smyth


209. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if discussions have taken place within his Department on providing funding for the East-West link road and rural roads in general; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46619/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As I have previously outlined to you on 9th July, 23rd July, and 17th October 2019, proposals to deliver an upgraded East-West route linking Dundalk to Sligo, taking in Cavan, involve linking elements of the national road network and regional roads along as direct a route as possible. Essentially the route involves upgrade/realignment works on the regional routes from Dundalk to Cavan and on national routes from Cavan to Sligo. As regards regional road aspect of the proposal, the improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads in its area is a statutory function of local authorities in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act, 1993. Works on such roads are a matter for the relevant local authority to be funded from its own resources supplemented by State road grants.

My Department provided funding to Cavan County Council (acting as lead authority with Monaghan and Louth County Councils) with over €2m in the period 2007-2014 to progress the regional road element of the project to preliminary design.

My Department has discussed the project with Cavan County Council and this year I gave an allocation of €100,000 to the Council to enable it to undertake a detailed appraisal, in line with the current requirements in the Public Spending Code and the Capital Appraisal Framework, of the Cavan to Dundalk section of the route. The aim of the detailed appraisal would be to assess the extent to which the scheme or elements of it can be justified in terms of appraisal and advanced for further consideration in relation to schemes for future development. Preparation of the appraisal is the responsibility of the Council.

As regards investment in rural roads more generally, Exchequer funding of €483 million has been made available this year to assist local authorities. Grant allocations for 2020 will be announced in January/February next year.

In relation to the national road element of the east- west route, as Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. Under the Roads Acts 1993-2015, the planning, construction and operation of individual national roads is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), in conjunction with the local authorities concerned. I have, therefore, referred your Question to TII for direct reply. If you do not receive a reply within 10 working days please advise my Office.