Wednesday, 10 July 2019
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
Regional Road Network
335. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if applications have been made by Galway County Council for extra funding for roads; the percentage increase sought; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30113/19]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 334 and 335 together.
The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of Galway County Council, 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 Council.
Funding under my Department's main grant programmes are allocated taking the length of the road network in each local authority area into account with a view to ensuring as fair and equitable approach as possible for determining allocations. It is envisaged that grant allocations will continue to be determined on this basis.
The 2019 regional and local roads budget has been fully allocated and the Department is not in a position to provide additional funding this year. The years during the recession saw major cuts in State grants for roads and funding is still only recovering to the levels required for adequate maintenance and renewal of the road network. Having said that, 2019 has seen a welcome increase in grants and I am glad to note that Galway County Council has seen its overall roads allocation for 2019 rise to €28.8m, an increase of over 47% when compared to 2017.
It is a matter for Galway County Council to determine its priorities and decide its work programme for the year taking account of available grant funding and its own resources. Where additional costs arise on particular schemes and can be justified by reference to the requirements of the Public Spending Code, the Department may allow Councils to recoup extra costs from its grant allocation in the following year.
The final decision on grant allocations for 2020 will be determined as part of the Estimates process and will not be announced until early 2020.