16/01/2008

DRD Minister Welcomes Increase In Roads Budget

The NI Assembly's Roads Minister Conor Murphy has welcomed the additional funds for roads maintenance announced as part of the outcome of the December in-year monitoring round.

Murphy said: "Up to £75m is to be spent on maintaining roads in the north this year. The additional funding of just over £15m, announced as part of the December in-year monitoring, represents a 26% increase in the structural maintenance budget and is extremely good news for both road users and the construction industry."

Commenting on concerns about the levels of infrastructure funding expressed by the Quarry Products Association for Northern Ireland, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the Freight Transport Association in recent media reports the Minister explained that in the last three years a total of £788million has been spent on developing and maintaining the roads network in Northern Ireland.

Some £503m has been invested in revenue activities, including maintenance, with a further £285m on capital.

The Minister said: "The additional funding this year means that in the three years to 2007/08 some £211m will have been invested in roads' structural maintenance bringing benefits right across Northern Ireland's 15,600 miles of carriageway and footway and making a much needed contribution in addressing the impact of many years of under-investment."

It is hoped increases to the Draft Budget over the next ten years will significantly increase the size of the motorway and dual carriageway network, reduce journey times and improve access times to urban centres and regions in the north.

(GK)




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