To ask the Minister for Transport if he will confirm an underspend €500 million for roads in the Border Midland Western region; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
- Jerry Cowley.
For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 5th December, 2006.
Ref No: 41072/06 Proof: 219
Transferred (from) Finance -- 05/12/2006 -- Question No 505 (Written)
Answered by the Minister for Transport
(Martin Cullen TD)
The National Development Plan investment programme for national roads is being implemented as part of the Economic and Social Infrastructure Operational Programme 2000 to 2006 (ESIOP). The total investment originally envisaged in national roads in the case of the BMW region for the seven years of the ESIOP was € 2479.362 million. The most recent forecast for the final outturn figure for national roads investment in the region for the period 2000 2006 is €2012.531 million, which is € 534.96 million less than the amount originally envisaged.
At the start of the ESIOP, a relatively small number of major road projects in the BMW region had progressed through the planning, design and public procurement processes. The NRA provided grant assistance towards the acceleration of this work. As a result there was an intensification of planning and design activity on major road projects, resulting in a sharp upturn in the number of projects arriving at the construction stage, and a corresponding increase in the level of spending on national roads in the region since the beginning of 2004.
Construction work on a number of the projects will continue into the period after 2006. There is no question of an "underspend" or a loss of funding in respect of national roads in the BMW region. The position is that, at an early point after 2006 the total level of investment which had originally been envisaged for the seven year period from the start of 2000 to the end of 2006 will be reached and surpassed.
The major pick-up in road building activity in the BMW region has been acknowledged at the ESIOP Monitoring Committee.