Freight Transport Association Ireland (FTAI) is calling on the Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport (DTTS) not to ignore essential trade routes when it comes to allocating funds for road repairs. The plea follows the announcement made earlier this week by Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport – Mr Leo Varadkar that an additional €50million is to be allocated to Local Authorities to repair regional and local road surfaces.
The Association agrees that the proposed €50 million funding will be a welcome boost for the road improvement programme allowing for repairs and renewal of road surfaces on an extra 600km of roadway, and in conjunction with the RSA thinks that consideration should be given to verge cutting to prevent vehicle damage. However, FTAI is concerned that local authorities do not prioritise projects and is asking that no political pressure be made to repair roads in certain constituencies. FTA Ireland has also stated that there is the added worry that the allocation of funding will be based on length of road in their respective counties rather than traffic volume.
In response to the announcement made by Minister Varadkar which was revealed as part of the Government’s Investing in Infrastructure & Jobs plan, FTA Ireland is asking for the assurance from the DTTS that priority be given to essential trade routes which lie at the heart of the economy across the Republic of Ireland.
"We have an excellent primary road infrastructure, but FTA Ireland believes that regional and local roads have historically been neglected," says Declan McKeon, FTAI Head of Policy – Republic of Ireland, "FTA Ireland insists that the DTTS gives careful consideration and assurances as to the allocation of those funds and give priority for repair to the essential roads and trade routes."
McKeon added: "There is no doubt that the €50million funding is very much welcome for all road users, but in particular the freight industry, as it will not only help road safety but also benefit freight operators who are holding on to their fleets longer and promote the upkeep and maintenance of their vehicles."