Thursday 19 October 2017

NRA chief warns over 'on-off' spending on infrastructure

NRA chief Fred Barry
NRA chief Fred Barry
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

FAILURE to provide a steady funding stream to invest in critical infrastructure could hamper economic growth over the long-term, the outgoing chief executive of the National Roads Authority (NRA) has warned.

In an interview with the Irish Independent, Fred Barry, inset, said he was concerned that investment in infrastructure including roads tended to be switched "on and off" and that it was an "inefficient" way to manage critical assets.

"The political world tends to switch investment on and off, and it's very inefficient and you wonder do people understand you don't build a road or Luas line today and that's it. As the economy grows, requirements grow, and continuous investment is needed," he said. Funding levels in other similarly-sized countries far exceeded those in Ireland, he added, and there was still a requirement for new road schemes in many counties including an upgrade of the Cork-Limerick road and delivery of the Galway bypass.

Others projects included bypasses in Adare and Macroom, a road in Westport, Co Mayo, and projects in west Limerick and north Donegal.

"I wouldn't like people to think we have the view the infrastructure is wrapped. There's thousands of kilometres of single carriageway roads which need works and are substandard. There's a lot of that still to be done."

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