Cork is expected to get the go-ahead for vital road investment today with the promise of three key infrastructure projects for the second city at a cost of hundreds of millions of euro.
The projects will form part of the Coalition’s €27bn Capital Plan — to be unveiled today — which will outline spending promises in transport, health, schools and broadband among areas up until 2021 which will create over 45,000 construction jobs.
Long-awaited funds for the Cork to Ringaskiddy road upgrade, the Macroom by-pass and the Dunkettle interchange are expected to be announced. The Ringaskiddy upgrade would link Cork and the city’s sprawling port operations and, say business chiefs, facilitate the creation of thousands of jobs. The other two road projects, which business leaders hope will get the go-ahead, would help alleviate traffic congestion and lead to more investment being ultimately pumped into the city.
“Cork has to be a big counterpoint for economic development. This plan is about more direct investment, expansion and managing growth,” said a government source familiar with the plan.
The Coalition is also expected to unveil a multi-billion euro project linking Dublin Airport to the city centre, a plan which could get between €1.5bn and €2bn in funding over the coming years.
The rail link to the airport is expected to be the centrepiece of the plan.
Today’s announcement will also feature promises by the Fine Gael-Labour Coalition to commit funds to the national broadband plan for the first time, before projects go out to tender at the end of the year.
Where communities are not reached by commercial operators, the State will provide broadband infrastructure up to 2021 and beyond, said a source. Energy Minister Alex White is also expected to announce the next round of funds available for energy efficiency schemes to incentivise groups and consumers to sign up for retrofit projects among others.
Plans for upgrades and extensions to at least 200 schools are also expected to help address concern about dilapidated facilities in some areas.
The plan will be brought before Cabinet this morning before formal launches later in the day, where Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Joan Burton are expected to outline the promise to spend €27bn over the next six years if the Coalition are returned after the upcoming general election.
The plan, sources said last night, is also expected to pledge that 45,000 construction jobs will be created.
Farming projects under the multi-billion euro rural development plan, as well as commitments to the marine, are also expected to feature in the six-year plan.
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