Transport | Likely progress on urgently-needed arterial road developments deemed to be vitally necessary
To ask the Minister for Transport the extent to which progress is likely on urgently-needed arterial road developments deemed by those directly affected to be vitally necessary in the shortest possible time; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads (RLR) is the statutory responsibility of each local authority, in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on those roads are funded from local authorities’ own resources supplemented by State road grants. The initial selection and prioritisation of works to be funded is also a matter for the local authority.
The major cuts to funding for regional and local roads during the post 2008 recession resulted in the build-up of a substantial backlog of works across the country. The estimated cost of the backlog is in excess of €5 billion. Because of the pressures on the regional and local road network, approximately 90% of available Exchequer grant assistance to local authorities for regional and local roads is being directed to maintenance and renewal works rather than for new roads or for road realignments.
Any road improvement projects proposed by local authorities for consideration under the Specific or Strategic Grant Programme 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. Given the limited funding available for regional and local road improvement works it is important for local authorities to prioritise projects within their overall area of responsibility with these requirements in mind.
As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for overall policy and exchequer funding in relation to the National Roads Programme. Under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 and in line with the National Development Plan (NDP), the planning, design and construction of individual national roads is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), in conjunction with the local authorities concerned. This is also subject to the Public Spending Code and the necessary statutory approvals. In this context, TII is best placed to advise you.
Noting the above position, I have referred your question to TII for a direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.
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