Road maintenance funding for national roads in the cities of Cork and Galway decreased by 85% between 2010 and 2014, a report has revealed.
A value-for-money review on expenditure on ordinary maintenance of national roads by the Department of Transport said the available data could not explain the basis for such a significant reduction in funding levels for the two city councils.
All local authorities received funding from the National Roads Authority on the basis of the length of their national road network with some adjustment based on local conditions and infrastructure.
The report also found the average allocation for the country’s five city councils — Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, and Waterford — rose from €7,305 per km in 2008 to €23,229 per km in 2009, despite the fact that there was no change in the size of the network being maintained by them.
The figure rose to €23,528 in 2010, even though the city councils in Dublin, Limerick and Waterford no longer had responsibility for the maintenance of any national roads from that year on.
The city councils in Cork and Galway continued to maintain the national road network in their jurisdictions but experienced a sharp reduction in funding levels. The average allocation per kilometre has been below €5,000 since 2011.
“The network which Galway City and Cork City had to maintain did not alter significantly. However their per km ordinary maintenance allocation dropped substantially and this not adequately explained by the available data,” the report stated.
The Department of Transport admitted city councils still enjoyed significantly higher levels of funding for road maintenance than non-city councils because of higher costs and traffic levels. In 2009, city councils were receiving 10 times the average allocation per kilometre than county councils.
Since 2011, however, the differential between the two types of local authority had reduced significantly.
By 2014, city councils were receiving €3,041 per kilometre — about three times the level of funding non-city councils.
In relation to non-city councils, the Department of Transport said significant variations also remained in funding levels between different local authorities when the average allocation per kilometre in the period 2008 to 2014 was analysed.
It ranged from €1,006 per kilometre in Fingal to €1,367 in Louth. The department said it could not explain the reason for the difference again due to a lack of data.
The report also revealed that local authorities have complained staffing shortages have hampered their ability to carry out important road maintenance work.
The report concluded the programme was “reasonably effective”.
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