The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads (RLR) 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 Councils' own resources supplemented by State road grants.
Before the post 2008 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 that period meant these grant schemes had to be curtailed after 2013 because expenditure on maintenance and 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 basis and must comply with the requirements of the Public Spending Code (PSC) and the Department's Capital Appraisal Framework (CAF). Given the limited funding available for RLR improvement works it is important for local authorities to prioritise projects within their overall area of responsibility with these requirements in mind. Our records indicate that no project application has been received in relation to the section of the R178 from Shercock to Bailieborough.
I announced the 2020 regional and local road allocations on 21st January this year and all grant funding available to my Department has now been allocated. Details of the regional and local road grant allocations and payments to local authorities are outlined in the regional and local road grant booklets which are available in the Oireachtas library.