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Written Answers. - Roads Projects.

Tuesday, 26 November 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 558 No. 1

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 87. Mr. McGinley Information on Dinny McGinley Zoom on Dinny McGinley  asked the Minister for Transport Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan  the road projects which will be delivered on time within the national development plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23484/02]

 128. Mr. Gilmore Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  asked the Minister for Transport Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan  the implications for the road building programme under the national development plan of the Estimates for his Department for 2003; the road projects likely to be delayed as a result of the Estimates; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23442/02]


 151. Mr. Cuffe Information on Ciarán Cuffe Zoom on Ciarán Cuffe  asked the Minister for Transport Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan  the amount of the present budgeted capital funding for roads over the next five years which will be consumed by live or commenced road projects in each year, starting with 2002; and the amount of the present projected capital budget for roads which will be available for the new project commencements for the next four years up to and including 2006. [23570/02]

Minister for Transport (Mr. Brennan): Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan I propose to take Questions Nos. 87, 128 and 151 together.

The provision in the Estimates of just over €1 billion for national roads in 2003 will maintain investment in the national roads programme at a high level. Investment in the programme has grown rapidly in recent years. The 2003 provision of €1 billion is approximately three times the level of investment in 1997 and twice the 1999 level.

The 2003 provision will fund construction on major projects throughout the country, such as the Dublin Port tunnel, the south-eastern motorway, major schemes on the M1 and N11, the Kildare bypass, major schemes in Cork and Limerick, and planning and design on other projects.

This level of funding will maintain good progress in the implementation of the national roads programme set out in the national development plan, which provides for investment of €6.75 billion in national roads over the plan period. Investment in national road improvements in 2000 to 2002 will be approximately €2.62 billion, which is more than 12% in excess of that provided for in the NDP.

This has funded the completion of 23 major schemes, including such major projects as the Dunleer/Dundalk route, M1, the southern cross route, M50, the Croom bypass, N20, the Kilmacthomas bypass, N25, the Blackpool bypass, N20, and completion or ongoing work this year on some 26 major projects with a combined length of over 200 km.

Good progress has also been made in the roll-out of the NRA's PPP programme. The current position on PPP projects is as follows: the second Westlink bridge on the M50 is under construction and is expected to be completed next year; the Kilcock/Kinegad project is at the final negotiation stage and a preferred bidder has been selected; initial tendering has been completed and bidders shortlisted in respect of two of the projects – the N25 Waterford bypass and Dundalk western bypass; the N8 Rathcormac/Fermoy bypass is at tender stage, with tenders due to be submitted during December 2002; the M3 Clonee to Kells project is at oral hearing stage; and the remaining five schemes are at an advanced design stage which includes the preparation of statutory documentation for publication. The NRA is also considering the scope for the extension of its PPP programme.

[170]Increases in the cost of the roads programme and the changed economic and budgetary circumstances mean that some projects will take longer to implement than originally planned. However, it is hoped that with many projects reaching completion in 2003 and with the advance of PPP projects, a number of schemes will be able to commence next year.

The detailed programming of the work involved in the implementation of the NDP national roads programme, including the allocation of funding for individual projects, is a matter for the NRA within the overall funding available.

The position on the overall capital funding levels for the national roads programme beyond 2003 is that my Department and the Department of Finance are considering the adoption of a multi-annual funding framework for the programme. Funding levels for 2004 and beyond will be determined in that context. On the basis of a continuation of the current high level of Exchequer funding and private finance of more than €1 billion, substantial funding would be available over the period 2004 to 2006 for new project starts. Possible sources of additional funding, including through the National Development Finance Agency, are also being considered.

As will be evident from the provision of €1 billion for 2003, the Government is committed to maintaining investment in the national roads programme at a high level and to upgrading the national roads network as quickly as possible.

Question No. 88 answered with Question No. 56.

Question No. 89 answered with Question No. 76.

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