18th December 2013
Fine Gael TD for Kildare North, Anthony Lawlor, was dismayed to learn today (Wednesday) from Gerry Murphy, the CEO of the NTA, that almost €2 million of funding allocated to Kildare County Council for transport projects remains unspent. This funding could have benefitted the general public by being put to good use improving the transport infrastructure throughout the County, but instead with only two weeks left in 2013 the vast majority of it remains untouched.
“It beggars belief that only €560,000 has been drawn down for transport projects of the €2.5 million allocated by the NTA to Kildare County Council. This funding can be used to improve the present public transport system throughout the county and to undertake assessments of how transport links in Kildare can be improved in the future. The best example of this is the €40,000 allocated by the NTA to Kildare County Council to undertake an options and feasibility study of users of the bridge in Celbridge in terms of building an alternative route which would ease congestion. However, to the best of my knowledge this study is yet to take place.
“I firmly believe that our elected representatives in Kildare County Council should have a greater role in deciding where funding is spent. Currently our Councillors do not become involved in the decision making process until the design and consultative process has been completed. This urgently needs to be changed and our elected councillors need to demand greater power in order to oversee transport spending decisions by the County Council.
“Kildare County Council needs to immediately account for why this funding has not been drawn down. It is imperative that an effective transport infrastructure is given priority in the county as improved services will attract further investment by companies in the area due to our proximity to Dublin. It is clear from their unwillingness to use the funding allocated by the NTA in 2013 that Kildare County Council does not place the necessary emphasis on this important aspect of promoting Kildare as a place to live and in which to do business.”