Fianna Fáil TD for Offaly Barry Cowen has rubbished today’s announcement by Minister Paschal Donohoe regarding funding for regional and local roads.
Deputy Cowen pointed out that the allocated money is far below what is required for maintaining roads.
“The Government made its road funding announcement to much fanfare today, but the devil is in the detail with this plan. The amount of money allocated will not address the severe damage caused to many roads following weeks of flooding,” said Deputy Cowen.
“The fact is that official figures show that the amount of money spent on roads over the last 3 years is 47% below what is required to keep the roads in a good condition. This is the reason why local roads are in such a terrible condition in many parts of the country.
“Now Minister Donohoe is acting as if the funding which he has allocated, which remains at historic low levels, will somehow repair the extensive damage caused to them this winter. The Department of Transport has itself stated that approximately €580 million is required as an annual ‘steady state’ investment in roads to keep them in a good condition. This is almost 50% more than the level the Minister is providing today and has provided over the last four years.
“At the same time as there has been a massive drop off in road maintenance spending over the past few years Motor Tax Revenues, which should be pumped back into local authorities to pay for roads and local infrastructure upgrades, have been spent on setting up the Irish Water superquango.
“This year alone €400 million from motor tax receipts (35% total) will be diverted to fund the subvention going towards the establishment of Irish Water in 2015. A payment of €439 million was made last year and a similar payment will be made in 2016. Meanwhile our roads continue to deteriorate,” said Deputy Cowen.