Thursday, 19 January 2023
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
55. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he has received the strategic assessment report from Cork County Council on the proposed upgrade options for the R624 access road to Cobh as part of the great island connectivity scheme; when he will in a position to make a decision on that report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1222/23]
The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of the relevant local authority in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on those roads are funded from Councils’ own resources supplemented by State road grants. The initial selection and prioritisation of works to be funded is a matter for the Council.
The major cuts to funding for regional and local roads during the post 2008 recession resulted in the build-up of a substantial backlog of works across the country. The estimated cost of the backlog is in excess of €5 billion. Because of the pressures on the regional and local road network, approximately 90% of available Exchequer grant assistance to local authorities for regional and local roads is being directed to maintenance and renewal works rather than for new roads or for road realignments.
Any road improvement projects proposed by local authorities for consideration under the Strategic Grant Programme are assessed by the Department on a case-by-case basis. All projects put forward by local authorities for consideration must comply with the requirements of the Public Spending Code and my Department's Capital Appraisal Framework.
The revised Public Spending Code requires a Strategic Assessment Report (SAR) for all projects with an estimated expenditure of €10 million or more. The SAR is now a key deliverable at the first decision stage in the project appraisal process.
Cork County Council appointed consultants in early 2022 to carry out the SAR for a Great Island Connectivity Scheme. A draft SAR has recently been received from Cork County Council and this draft SAR is currently being reviewed in the context of the Public Spending Code and the Department's capital investment appraisal requirements.