Government must commit to funding rural road maintenance and repair – Imelda Munster TD
Sinn Féin Transport spokesperson Imelda Munster TD has tonight called on the Government to commit adequate funding for repairing rural roads that are long overdue for maintenance and repair.
Speaking in the Dáil tonight, Teachta Munster said;
“I have been highlighting that the government’s policies would weaken our regional and road network for two years now.
“This was when Minister Ross announced a measly €25m in additional funding for maintenance and repair.
“I told the Oireachtas that Minister Ross’ hollow allocation would see our roads continue to deteriorate, after almost a decade of neglect.
“This is another example of the Government’s lack of ability in the maintenance and provision of infrastructure across rural Ireland.
“This disparity is very worrying for all road-users, given the dramatic deterioration of our road safety record in recent times.
“Yet, despite this, Fianna Fáil failed to ensure that it used its confidence and supply arrangement to protect our regional and local road network.
“Almost two years later, and we are in a worse position than ever before.
“The 2018 budget for the maintenance of our roads is approximately €100million less than what is required.
“Local authorities have been informed that the budget to maintain 5,000km of national and secondary roads is going to be cut.
“Transport Infrastructure Ireland is obliged to honour existing funding commitments to motorway and bridge maintenance. This means that the bulk of cuts will come from the national road maintenance budget.
“This is expected to amount to a 30% drop in funding for road maintenance.
“Minister Ross was aware of the issues and underfunding since he took office, yet he continues to ignore the funding issues in the sector.
“The P.A.C recently heard that road maintenance is underfunded by up to €100million per year, with only 130km of the necessary 400km annual maintenance being carried out.
“The road network will deteriorate by €1billion per annum without investment.
“On top of that again, came the axing of the Specific Improvement Grant.
“Minister Ross announced a range of projects funded by this grant – but these were either projects that had already started or ones that had already been signed off on.
“I know this because I have spoken directly with the officials in my own county council of Louth.
“This fund is an essential element of road maintenance and repair, as it refers to medium to large-scale projects.
“There is not a town or a village in Ireland that couldn’t speak to the desperately poor quality of the resurfacing materials.”