Longford-Westmeath Independent Deputy, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, has secured more than €6.8m for County Westmeath’s regional and local roads under the 2017 funding allocation announced this week by Transport Minister, Shane Ross.
Speaking after the announcement, Deputy Moran said he is happy Minister Ross has recognised the need to invest strongly in the improvement and maintenance of roads, with over €4.5m allocated alone in this area for Westmeath.
“The funding announced today reflects this Government’s commitment to the entirety of the Longford-Westmeath constituency,” said Deputy Moran. “What is equally pleasing is that I have delivered over €0.5m extra for Westmeath this year, which follows my extensive representations to Minister Ross regarding the transport needs of the county. In total, almost €13m has been delivered for Longford-Westmeath, which is almost an additional €2 million up on last year.”
Deputy Moran added that the Independent Alliance has laid special emphasis on rural development and the sustaining of rural communities, and views regional and local roads as being at the core of local economic activity.
Deputy Moran added that both Longford and Westmeath will receive an 11.5 per cent increase in the Restoration Improvement grant, with the Restoration Maintenance grants being maintained at the 2016 level for all counties.
“The priority this year is safety and the support of job growth in local areas. Therefore, the continued maintenance of the existing road network coupled with major rehabilitation and infrastructure improvements is central to this year’s programme,” he said.
“Minister Ross confirmed that the funding package announced today will allow approximately 1,980 km of regional and local roads to be maintained and 2,035 km to be strengthened in the coming year.
“Minister Ross believes local authorities are best placed to assess priorities within their own areas, and therefore considerable autonomy will be given under grant headings to decide their own specific work programmes, including up to 15 per cent of the discretionary grant to be used for the Local Improvement Scheme.”