The road maintenance budget next year will be reduced by 15 per cent nationally and by up to 30 per cent for local authorities, Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) has warned.
TII head of operations Kevin O’Rourke warned that cuts in the budget for repairs to the road networks will be “inevitable”.
Mr O’Rourke wrote to the chief executives of local authorities giving them advance notice of the cuts in their budgets.
He said some of the cuts to local authority budgets will be offset by an increase in the availability of funds through the Geo App but, nevertheless, funding will be down substantially.
He wrote: “While TII will endeavour to allocate the overall budget provision in a manner which will mitigate, as far as possible, the impacts of the reduced funding on the provision of maintenance services on the national road network, we feel it is necessary to give you advance notices of the scale of the cutbacks that will be required.”
Mr O’Rourke said there had been previous reductions in the budget for the day-to-day maintenance of the road networks over the last decade and these cuts would add to that.
He added: “Combined management of the situation at both national and local level will, therefore, be critical if, collectively, we are to continue to deliver a level of service consistent with the funding provided.”
Fianna Fáil transport spokesman Robert Troy said the revelation that road maintenance expenditure will be down 15 per cent was "truly shocking".
He accused the Minister for Transport Shane Ross of being ignorant as to the scale of the cutbacks in his own department.
Mr Troy said: "I raised this issue with Minister Ross earlier at the Oireachtas Transport Committee and he said he wasn't even aware of the cutbacks and would have to get back to me on it with further information. It's an astonishing situation."
He went on to warn that the culminative effect of the cutbacks will be more potholes on the road and therefore more damage to cars.
“Road users can expect to see more potholes and increased damage to their cars and higher repair costs in 2018,” he said.
“Road maintenance budgets have already suffered from significant cutbacks in recent years and this has had a detrimental impact on transport infrastructure.
“Minister Ross should be dramatically increasing the funding allocated for roads maintenance, but instead he is overseeing the implementation of damaging cutbacks.”