DRD Minister welcomes increase in the roads budget
Sinn Féin Roads Minister Conor Murphy has welcomed the additional funds for roads maintenance announced as part of the outcome of the December in-year monitoring round.
Mr Murphy said:
"Up to £75million is to be spent on maintaining roads in the north this year. The additional funding of just over £15million, announced as part of the December in-year monitoring, represents a 26% increase in the structural maintenance budget and is extremely good news for both road users and the construction industry."
Commenting on concerns about the levels of infrastructure funding expressed by the Quarry Products Association (NI), the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the Freight Transport Association in recent media reports the Minister explained that in the last three years a total of £788million has been spent on developing and maintaining the roads network in the North of Ireland. Some £503million has been invested in revenue activities, including maintenance, with a further £285million on capital.
The Minister said:
"The additional funding this year means that in the three years to 2007/08 some £211million will have been invested in roads' structural maintenance bringing benefits right across the North's 15,600 miles of carriageway and footway and making a much needed contribution in addressing the impact of many years of under-investment."
Looking forward, the Minister added:
"The Draft Budget 2008-11 builds on this investment and provides for a further £200million across the budget 2007 period for roads structural maintenance. Over the next 10 years the Draft Investment Strategy for the North of Ireland envisages that some £3.1billion will be invested in roads subject to the availability of resources in future budget rounds, economic appraisals and statutory approvals. This would significantly increase the size of the motorway and dual carriageway network, reduce journey times and improve access times to urban centres and regions in the north." ENDS