Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard has met with Shane Ross TD, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport.
The Ministers met to discuss a range of transport matters and opportunities for future collaboration in areas of policy and funding, including through a formal cooperation agreement in relation to the Connecting Europe Facility/Trans-European Transport Network programme.
Discussions also covered a number of strategic projects including the development of the A5 Western Transport Corridor with Minister Ross reaffirming the Irish Government’s commitment to provide £75 million to Phase 1 of the scheme, which will be provided in three tranches of £25 million in the years 2017, 2018 and 2019. It was also noted that as in the Fresh Start Agreement, the Capital Plan states that there will be ongoing review of the scope for building on the current commitment to the A5 road project.
The meeting also provided the Ministers with an opportunity to note recent proposals to consider the feasibility of high speed rail services in the future and current and emerging proposals to develop public transport links, including the current proposal for a Derry multimodal transport hub serving the North West region.
Speaking after the meeting, Minister Hazzard said:
“The meeting was an opportunity to reaffirm the continued co-operation between the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and my Department on a number of strategic transport priorities.
“Developing the strategic road network, enhancing East West and North South connections and supporting sustainable modes of public transport, particularly in border areas are key initiatives of mutual importance to both governments.”
A number of projects currently being taken forward by both departments that have the potential to attract enhanced levels of EU funding were also discussed.
Minister Hazzard continued saying:
"My Department has identified a number of candidate projects with an all-island and EU dimension and we are currently preparing a number of applications for funding in this regard. There are potentially significant financial benefits for both administrations where we can demonstrate a cross-border dimension to our projects and we are doing as much as we can to ensure that we can both take advantage of these.
"I have signed a co-operation statement with Minister Ross; the purpose of this is to acknowledge the importance of continuing to develop the Trans-European Transport Network on the island through a pipeline of projects, North and South, that demonstrably contribute to economic growth and job creation. Signing this co-operation statement has the potential to strengthen our future bids for funding and I am pleased to be able to do so."
Officials from the Department for Infrastructure are currently preparing five applications for EU co-financing of projects within the Connecting Europe Facility/Trans-European Transport Network programme.
While subject to a competitive bidding process open to all 28 EU Member States and precisely stipulated qualifying criteria, successful bids with a cross-border dimension could recover up to 40% of eligible costs; or in the case of studies, up to 50%.
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