The Government has made no commitment to developing the M20, which would connect Limerick and Cork city.
Under Budget 2018, €434m has been allocated to the national road network, but yesterday Transport Minister Shane Ross said only a fraction of this would go toward the M20.
“The M20 as you know is an absolutely massive project, it’s to cost about €860m and obviously there is an intention that it should go ahead, that there should certainly be a link between the second and third largest cities,” said Mr Ross.
“We have provided for increased design and we’re committed to going ahead [with it], at some stage. I think there’s €15m being committed to the M20 in the next four years.”
Of the €434m allocated for roads, €390mwill go towards regional and local roads.
Investment is also being put into projects that will relieve bottlenecks and “improve access to regional locations”.
The Dunkettle Interchange, on the east side of Cork City, is one of the projects earmarked for improvement.
Nationally, there are plans to introduce variable speed limits for the M50 and enhance the capacity of the M11.
Yesterday, the Department of Tourism, Transport and Sport held its budget briefing where the funding of recreational and sports projects was also unveiled.
The €10m centre for soccer excellence that has been tabled for Glanmire, Co Cork, and which is seen as a second Abbotstown, was addressed. Brendan Griffin, the minister of state at the department, with special responsibility for tourism and sport, said a new scheme should benefit projects such as the one at Glanmire.
“The new large-scale sports project scheme, which we hope to draw out during 2018 with a view to implementing in 2019, would be the suitable avenue for projects of that scale,” he said.
“To date, the sports capital project is a fantastic scheme but one of the limitations is that contribution is capped at €150,000 for the local projects or €50,000 for the regional projects. So projects of that nature [Glanmire] need more state assistance.”
The Fine Gael TD said projects such as the centre of soccer excellence could apply for funding under the new large-scale scheme.
“We are drawing up the scheme in 2018 and for allocations thereafter there’s €50m over four years provided for, which is a substantial amount of money and there are a number of very worthy projects around the country that we hope to see progressing under that scheme. We’ll be calling for expressions of interest in 2018,” said the minister.
Other national measures announced for the department include increased funding for public transport. In 2018, there will be an allocation of over €400m for public transport infrastructure. A total of €110m is earmarked for new urban cycling and walking routes to provide sustainable travel options to our main cities.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved