Road improvement money must make a difference on the ground
Sinn Féin Regional Development spokesperson, Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has said that the announcement by British Direct Rule Minister, David Cairns on major investment in the improvement of our roads will be meaningless unless there is a real improvement in the rural roads network, in the maintenance budgets and in the infrastructure across the border counties.
Mr. McCartney said:
"The reality is that something like 35% of all road deaths occur in the border areas precisely because there has been such an under investment in the roads there. The situation is the same for the rural roads network that year on year, under direct rule, has seen the Roads Maintenance and Structural Maintenance budgets slashed.
"With responsibility for roads transferring from central to local government in the coming years it is essential that we see both substantial investment in road improvement and an end to the cutbacks in maintenance because this is where the hidden deficits cause our roads to deteriorate.
"Last year, Peter Hain told the people of the North West there would be a new 30km dual carriage between Derry and Dungiven costing £250m. Yet, what the region needs is a motorway. Derry is the only City of its size in Ireland or Britain that does not have a motorway within thirty miles of it. This puts into context the improvements announced by David Cairns and the inadequacy of the £400m spending commitment for roads across the North.
"The first 5 Year Review of the Regional Development Strategy (RDS) is underway and it is clear that the designated gateways and hubs have not seen the type of infrastructural development envisaged when it was launched.
"Transport improvements must provide real benefits to people on the ground. Major investment in the improvement of our roads will be meaningless unless there is a real improvement in the rural roads network, in the maintenance budgets and in the infrastructure across the border counties." ENDA