“A milestone in the progression of this important route for County Galway,” is how a Galway TD has described the latest developments on M17 Gort – Tuam bypass.
The Government is to issue a letter of guarantee in relation to the project which will allow the NRA to continue to seek funding overseas for the works.
The news has been welcomed by Galway East Fine Gael TD Paul Connaughton, who said this is “a key project for the county”, which will provide “a welcome jobs boost” during the construction phase.
The Government is aiming to have the finance in place for this project by the middle of next year. However owing to the size of the project, overseas funding is necessary and financial institutions considering becoming involved were seeking a letter of guarantee in relation to the NRA funding.
Labour senator Lorraine Higgins has also welcomed the news.
“This is another important step forward for this project which will undoubtedly bring significant change to the roads infrastructure within the constituency but also will help create jobs too,” she said.
Once the financial details are finalised the project will proceed to construction in 2014.
This endorsement of the project from Cabinet has also been welcomed by Galway East Junior Minister Ciaran Cannon.
"Earlier this year our government made a commitment of €20 million to this project. That was the state's commitment to this public private partnership and it was this commitment of funds which allowed the NRA to commence engaging with a contractor and financial institutions. I understand that the engagement so far with the overseas banks has been positive and this letter of guarantee will be welcomed by those banks", said Minister Cannon.
"Given the volatility of the financial markets, it is not possible to give certainty on time frames for bringing this project to financial close. However, it remains our firm intention to go ahead with this vital piece of infrastructure for the West. The timelines that the NRA and the Government are working towards is to have financial close achieved by mid-2014 following which the project will proceed to construction", he continued.
"It is encouraging to see our government remaining fully supportive of the M17/18 project and I look forward to seeing construction getting underway next year", concluded Minister Cannon