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West=On=Track - News

Spending in BMW under Target

The Irish Times (9th October 2003)

by Áine Ryan

A confidential report by international economic consultants, INDECON shows road investment in the Border-Midlands-Western (BMW) region has not reached projected spending targets. The report, which has been submitted to the Department of Transport, concludes that there is no evidence of significant convergence between the BMW and South and East (S&E) regions. The Mid- Term Evaluation of the Economic and Social Infrastructure Operational Programme shows that actual spending on roads in the BMW counties between 2000 and 2002 was only 69.1 per cent (592.7m) of projected spending. While 90.9 per cent was spent in 2000, only 48.7 per cent of the projected funding was spent in 2002.

These figures are in contrast to overspending in the S&E regions where last year 146.0 per cent (910.8m) was spent on roads. Roads investment in the S&E between 2000 and 2002 was 138.1 per cent (2023.1)

"The widening chasm between the BMW region and the S&E is a disgrace," said BMW regional assembly member Mr Michael McGreal.

West on Track, a group lobbying for the re-opening of the Western Rail Corridor, has also criticised the revelations. Spokesman Mr Colmán Ó Raghallaigh has accused the Department of Transport of "fast-tracking" projects elsewhere to the detriment of the BMW region. "The Western Rail Corridor can be restored and up and running for euro215 million. It is a disgrace that between 2000 and 2002 public transport spending in the BMW, which was mainly on rail infrastructure, was 51 per cent of that forecast by the National Development Plan, while in the S&E region it was a staggering 174 per cent."

The chief executive of the Western Development Commission, Ms Lisa McAllister, said: "Balanced regional development will not be achieved unless this mid-term review process suggests corrective action that will increase investment in the BMW region."








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