New statistics reveal dramatic underspend on roads maintenance

Published on: 31 December 2015

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson for Transport Timmy Dooley has strongly criticised the Government’s record on maintaining regional and local roads in counties throughout Ireland.

Deputy Dooley was responding to a recent reply from the Department of Transport which reveals that approximately €580 million investment is required annually to keep Irish roads up to standard.

“The Government has claimed at each annual budget that it is protecting maintenance spendin g on regional and local roads throughout the country. However the latest figures I have received tells a different story entirely.

“Since 2012 the investment made in roads has been well under the level required to properly maintain them. The Government itself acknowledges this. The maintenance costs have far exceeded annual investment in roads in recent years. The Government underspent by an estimated €289 million per annum on roads this year alone.

“If you look at the 3 year average of what was spent on roads in each county from 2013 to 2015 you will discover that maintenance spending on roads has been approximately 47% below what is required to keep the roads in a good condition. This is the reason why regional and local roads are potholed and in such terrible condition in many parts of the country.  Some counties receive little or nothing to cover the costs of maintaining their regional and local roads.

“Most local authorities rely completely upon the regional and local roads grants to maintain their county roads. For example Waterford, Louth, Donegal, Wicklow, Tipperary, Wexford and Kilkenny are the worst affected counties. They receive on average of between 51% and 59% below the investment required to maintain their roads.

“A similar pattern arises for maintenance spending on national roads. Over the last three years maintenance investment has been on average 40% below what is required to maintain these roads in a steady state condition.

“This level of under-investment in maintaining the roads network by this Government is irresponsible in the extreme, and is only storing up problems for future Governments,” said Deputy Dooley.

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