Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Increased spending on roads?

The Department of Transport yesterday issued a press release announcing a record spend of €1.53 billion on roads.
€1.53 billion of funding for the National Roads Programme under Transport 21, the largest single annual investment in roads.
Speaking about the €1.53 billion investment for the national roads, Minister Cullen said: "This Government is committed to progressing projects that will enhance quality of life for people, connect communities and underpin our prosperity.

Sounds good, but the constant emphasis on 1.53 billion got me curious. Why 1.53 instead of the simpler 1.5 billion? Turns out by searching down through the press releases from last year, 122 or over 2 a week, I found last years version of this press release. Last year they announced spending of 1.5 Billion on roads. With annual inflation at 2.4% last year that means just to keep pace the Government would have to spend 1.536 billion. So 1.53 billion would be the minimum to spend and not be accused of cutting the budget.

But as far as I know construction inflation is running at an even higher rate than the standard rate. The closest thing I've found to a figure is in this PDF. Does anyone know what what the official number is? I'd be interested to see if 1.53 billion actually represents an increase or a decrease in spending power. I suspect it is a decrease, a small one but a decrease none the less.

[Update: 19-Jan-2007] Oops, silly me, it appears the inflation rate for last year hadn't been finalised yet. Instead of being the wildly optimistic 2.4% it was actually 4.9%. That means that in order to match last years spending power the money invested on roads should have been €1.57 billion.


Johnny K said...

Yeah lets build more roads, so each adult in each house can have their own car, live miles away from their jobs and contribute to already ridiculous emissions in this country.

Declan said...

Thats a different argument. I was just pointing out some government spin.

If we have to build roads shouldnt we allocate enough funds to do it properly so that they dont reach max capacity a few months before they actually open like the M50 seems to have.