Road maintenance budget cut amidst travel chaos - Imelda Munster TD
Sinn Féin’s Spokesperson for Transport has today criticised the Minister for Transport’s decision to cut funding for the maintenance of national roads, as many road users experience chaos due to snow and ice on roads across the state.
The Department of Transport has revealed that the 2018 budget for maintenance of the national network will be 15% lower than this year’s budget, down to €22million from €26million.
This budget covers maintenance such as repairs on roads and barriers, tending verges and winter maintenance such as gritting and salting roads.
Deputy Munster said:
“The budget for the maintenance of our roads is approximately €100million less than what is required. Now councils 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, which means that the bulk of cuts will come from the national road maintenance budget, which is expected to amount to a 30% drop in funding for road maintenance.
“The Minister has been claiming that road allocations have increased for 2018, however this cut is further evidence that the budget is insufficient. The road maintenance budget dramatically reduced in the past decade. 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 Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee recently heard that road maintenance is underfunded by €90-€100million per annum, with only 130km of the necessary 400km annual maintenance being carried out.
“The road network will deteriorate by €1billion per annum without investment, and given the Minister’s current attitude we are leaving ourselves open to significant issues with our roads and potentially major road safety issues if this matter isn’t addressed immediately.”