Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Transport Robert Troy TD says he is disappointed with the funding provided under the local and regional roads grant allocations. Deputy Troy says the funding is far below what is required for maintaining regional and local roads across the country.
Deputy Troy pointed out that the 4 year spending average on roads in each county from 2013 to 2016 reveals that the allocation has been 48% below what is needed to keep roads in a good condition.
“Given that the funding allocated for road repairs has been at historically low levels in recent years, it is disappointing that Minister Ross was unable to secure greater levels of funding to invest in fixing our ailing regional and local roads infrastructure,” said Deputy Troy.
We need to put the small increase secured into context. This year’s funding allocation is still an estimated 44% below the ‘steady state’ level required to repair regional and local roads and keep them in a good condition. This is before we even take into consideration the damage caused by years of under-investment.
“The Department of Transport itself has outlined that approximately €580m is required annually to keep our roads in good condition, meaning the Minister is under-spending by an estimated €256m. This will result in many roads remaining in a poor condition.
“Furthermore, estimates provided by the Department reveal that some counties have received far below the amount needed to maintain their roads. There are some local authorities that must rely completely upon the regional and local roads grants to maintain their transport infrastructure.
“It’s also deeply disappointing that Minister Ross has failed to restore the Local Improvement Scheme, which was traditionally an important source of funding for isolated and neglected roads and lanes that have not been taken in charge by local authorities. This is despite a clear commitment in the Programme for Government to restore this scheme. The Government is talking a lot about rejuvenating rural Ireland, but when push comes to shove they continually back away from providing the necessary funding to achieve this.
“The level of under-investment in maintaining the country’s road network will hamper regional development. The Government is essentially piling large scale capital costs on the shoulders of future generations.”