Tuesday, 12 October 2021
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
Transport Infrastructure Ireland
61. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will publish all assessments and correspondence received by him or his Department from TII in relation to the N26 second phase as part of the NDP review; the reason he opposed its inclusion in the revised document; his views on the way he sees road connectivity to Ballina improving; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49135/21]
As Minister for Transport I have responsibility for overall policy and securing exchequer funding in relation to the National Roads Programme. Once funding arrangements have been put in place with Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 and in line with the National Development Plan (NDP), the planning, design and construction of individual national roads is a matter for TII in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.This is also subject to the Public Spending Code Guidelines and the necessary statutory approvals.
In the new NDP, launched on 4thOctober, approximately €5.1 billion is earmarked for new national road projects to 2030. This funding will enable improved connectivity across the country as well as compact growth, which are core components of the revised NDP. The funding will enable the development of numerous national road projects, including the completion of projects which are already at construction stage and those close to it, as well as the development of many others.
In relation to the projects listed in the NDP that are not at or close to construction, they are subject to further approvals in advance of a decision to construct. When evaluating the progression of these projects and in order to deliver on strategic objectives, a prioritisation exercise will be undertaken which will be in line with the 2:1 Programme for Government commitment on new public transport and new roads, the "NIFTI" framework, the National Planning Framework and the requirements of the Climate Action Plan. It will also take account of available funding levels in any given year, as well as a focus, where appropriate, on town bypasses which facilitate compact growth.
The N26 project is not listed in the NDP, though of course the NDP is not an exhaustive list of all projects that may proceed. The latest information on the status of the N26 is available from TII. Noting this, I have referred your query to TII for a direct reply on the current project status. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days. If you wish see further information thereafter, please feel free to contact my office directly.