Roads infrastructure starved of funding – Imelda Munster TD
Sinn Féin’s Transport Spokesperson Imelda Munster TD has today described the under-investment in the maintenance of national roads as “shocking”. It was revealed that the budget allocated by the government is approximately €27million less than it was in 2008, despite an increase in operational and maintenance costs since that time.
The funding for national road maintenance for 2018 was cut by €6million, or 16%, in Budget 2018, and Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) estimate that entire national road budget is underfunded by between €90million and €100million annually.
Questioning representatives from Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) this morning at the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport, Deputy Munster raised concerns that national road infrastructure has been neglected for ten years, and that the long-term practice of under-investment significant raises safety concerns.
Deputy Munster said:
“Minister Ross has not addressed the enormous deficit in funding for our roads, which he has been aware of for two years now. TII has been forced to cut funding to the national road maintenance budget as a result of this, due to existing obligations to honour funding commitments to motorway and bridge repair.
"This means that the budget for general maintenance has been cut, which covers repairs to roads and barriers, tending verges and signage.
“The Minister is aware that cuts to maintenance funding may lead to safety issues, and will cause increased costs for the State further down the line as the network is neglected.
"Last year only 130km a year of the network was maintained, which is well short of the necessary 400km. TII estimated that the road network will deteriorate by a value of €1billion per year over 20-30 year average life cycle of the road network.
“It is vitally important that our roads receive sufficient funding. This is especially important after a decade of state neglect of the network. I am repeating my call for Minister Ross to seek a significant increase in funding for roads in next year’s budget.”