Thursday, 21 November 2019

Ceisteanna (47)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

47. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans for future investment in the secondary routes of County Meath. [48148/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of the relevant local authority, 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 also a matter for the Council.

During the recession there were substantial cutbacks in the funding available for State grants for national, regional and local road programmes.  Project Ireland 2040 does provide for the gradual build up in funding for the road network but it will take time to reach the level required for the adequate maintenance and renewal of the network. Grants in the three main grant categories (Restoration Improvement, Discretionary Grant and Restoration Maintenance) are allocated taking into account the length of regional and local roads within a local authority area and traffic factors. It is envisaged that grants will continue to be made available on that basis.

There is limited scope at present for funding projects under the Specific and Strategic Grant Programmes and any projects proposed by local authorities for consideration under these Grant Programmes are assessed by the Department on a case-by-case basis. All projects put forward by local authorities for consideration must comply with the requirements of the Public Spending Code and my Department's Capital Appraisal Framework and it is important for local authorities to prioritise projects within their overall area of responsibility with these requirements in mind. 

Under the capital project appraisal process a Preliminary Appraisal has to be submitted in relation to each proposed project.  Once an appraisal is received it is assessed taking into account other competing projects and the overall roads budget.

I have been pleased to be able to allocate significantly increased grant funding to Meath County Council in respect of regional and local roads over the last two years. In this context grant allocations to Meath in 2019 total €19,676,500 which is an increase of over 45% compared to the 2017 allocation.  

Allocations for 2020 will be decided in line with the annual grant allocation process. Local Authorities will be notified of allocations in early 2020.