Thursday, 17 December 2015
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
688. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the funding allocated to Cork County Council to upgrade roads in the past six months; and the funding allocated specifically to upgrade the Fota Road, which is the only road access into Cobh town in County Cork, given that many fatal accidents have taken place on this road. [46221/15]
The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads in its area (including the R624 Cobh Road project), is a statutory function of Cork County Council in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act, 1993. Works on such roads are a matter for the relevant local authority to be funded from its own resources supplemented by State road grants. The initial selection and prioritisation of projects to be funded from these monies is a matter for each local authority.
Cork County Council was allocated grant funding of €32.21 million in February 2015 and a further amount of €3.1 million in July in respect of regional and local roads.
Given the cutbacks since the financial crisis in State funding for regional and local roads, it has been necessary to curtail the grant programme for major new regional and local road schemes and for major realignment schemes in order to protect the funding available for the maintenance of the existing network. It has not, therefore, been possible to provide funding for a range of major road improvement schemes such as a proposed upgrade of the R624 Cobh Road. A submission to my Department in 2010 on this project put the cost of the construction of a new road and bridge at €57.5 million.
When allocating grant funding my Department has emphasised that the commitment of local authorities to contribute significantly from their own resources towards the cost of improving and maintaining the regional and local roads network is essential and that full consideration needs to be given to utilising the Local Property Tax to boost own resources expenditure on regional and local road maintenance and renewal.
689. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the funding he will provide for the specific improvement grant scheme in 2016; if he will support the provision of funding for a scheme (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45701/15]
The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of the relevant road authority, in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on those roads are funded from the Council's own resources supplemented by State road grants. The initial selection and prioritisation of works to be funded is also a matter for the local authority.
Given the challenging financial climate, the Specific Grants Scheme was curtailed from 2014 in order to maximise the funding available for repair and strengthening work on the existing road network. In this context, it is important to reiterate that the purpose of Exchequer funding is to supplement local authorities' own resources.
I have been emphasising to local authorities the importance of prioritising expenditure on roads when allocating own resources, including revenue from Local Property Tax receipts.
690. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport how the views of local residents are being taken into account following a recent consultation exercise relating to a road project (details supplied) in County Cork; how many submissions have been received from members of the public; the next steps in the process including its estimated timeline; if alternative plans are being drawn up; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45738/15]
As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. The planning, design and implementation of individual road projects, including the N28 upgrade is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (formerly known as the NRA) under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 in conjunction with Cork County Council.
Within its capital budget, the assessment and prioritisation of individual projects is a matter in the first instance for TII in accordance with Section 19 of the Roads Act.
Noting the above position, I have referred the Deputy's question to TII for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.