Surprise at Government announcement of €18m for road maintenance

Last year’s allocation at €31.6 million was said by TII to be ‘totally insufficient’

Confusion surrounds the Government’s spending on national road maintenance for next year with Minister for Transport Shane Ross welcoming a figure of “nearly €18million” down from €58 million a decade ago.

In a statement released on Friday, Mr Ross said that as a result of funding he “secured in Budget 2019” some €338million would be available for national road schemes. He said the figure included €319million for improvement works, and “nearly €18million in maintenance”.

The maintenance figure immediately provoked some surprise as last January chief executive of the National Roads Authority Michael Nolan had complained of a €6 million reduction in maintenance funding, dropping the allocation to €31.6million.

Mr Nolan told the Oireachtas transport committee in January that the level of funding, at almost €32 million, was “totally insufficient”.


In comparison, he said the maintenance budget in 2008 was €58 million - that was two years before the State’s inter-urban motorways were completed. Mr Nolan told the committee: “TII’s annual allocation for road maintenance has been progressively cut. Our modern state-of-the-art roads systems incur significantly more maintenance and operational costs than the older legacy roads but instead of increased maintenance funding to cater for this, our funding has been sharply reduced.”

Asked about the figure for 2019 of “nearly €18 million” contained in Mr Ross’s announcement, a Department of Transport spokesman said there may be some confusion in “comparing like with like”. He said some maintenance may now be classed as renewal and referred questions to Transport Infrastructure Ireland.

A spokesman for Transport Infrastructure Ireland said the €18 million appeared to be the part of allocations from TII to local authorities for routine maintenance. He said the full maintenance allocation for next year was in the order of €34 million.

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist