To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he intends to run a community involvement scheme in 2014 in view of the useful projects completed in 2013; if so, when councils will be informed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Martin Heydon. For ORAL answer on Wednesday, 2nd April, 2014. Ref No: 15123/14
Answered by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport
I propose to answer questions 10,16,17,22,32 and 57 together. The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads in its area, is a statutory function of each road authority. Works on such roads are a matter for the relevant local authority to be funded from its own resources supplemented by State road grants. The initial selection and prioritisation of works to be funded is also a matter for the local authority.
My Department launched a pilot Community Involvement Scheme (CIS) in 2013 for works on regional and local roads. The scheme was aimed at works on local roads which would usually only be considered for funding towards the end of a Council’s road programme after more heavily trafficked routes had been dealt with. This is a voluntary scheme and is based on community contributions within the range of 20% to 50%.
I have allocated over €2.3 million to a number of local authorities in 2014 for previously committed CIS schemes. Following the recent review of the operation of the CIS in 2013 I am pleased to say that the findings indicate that the pilot scheme proved to be a success. Overall works with a value of almost €9 million were undertaken at a cost to the State of €6.64 million. A total of 299 schemes were completed in 2013, resulting in over 173 kms of improved roads.
Given the success of the scheme in 2013 in making available monies go further, I can confirm that I have decided to allocate additional funding of €4.5 million to local authorities in 2014 for CIS. This extra funding, combined with the €2.3 million already allocated in 2014, could potentially see around 170km of additional road improvements. The Department will shortly contact local authorities seeking applications for funding under the 2014 Scheme.
Separately, I will not be considering a similar pilot for the local improvements scheme (LIS). I have already given local authorities considerable flexibility whereby they may use up to 15% (up 8% on 2013) of their Discretionary Grant towards works on private roads should they wish to do so. The local contribution for these schemes is 20% of the total cost of the project. Over €10 million is available in 2014 for LIS should local authorities wish to allocate funds from their Discretionary Grant to such projects.