independent

Tuesday 20 August 2019

Still hope for 'PPP' deals on bypasses

COUNCIL CONTINUING TO BUY LAND NEEDED

WEXFORD County Council is still hopeful that public private partnership (PPP) contracts can be used to build the Enniscorthy and New Ross bypasses despite doubt surrounding the viability of the process.

The council is continuing to buy up land needed for the major road projects, having been given €24 million by the NRA for that purpose this year.

However, Cllr Declan MacPartlin noted that new Transport Minister Leo Varadkar has been throwing 'cold water' on PPPs lately and there was doubt about the future viability of such contracts to fund major infrastructural work given the depth of our economic woes.

He also asked when the landowners whose land is currently being bought would be paid for their land.

County Manager Eddie Breen said there should be 'no great delay' in payment once the deals are done, pointing out that the council had €24 million to spend. He said the overall cost of the land required for the projects could be €80 million.

Addressing the viability of PPPs, Mr Breen said that there is just one such project ahead of the Enniscorthy and New Ross bypasses in Ireland, with a road in the west of Ireland top if the national priority list and the County Wexford projects second and third.

'If that (the west of Ireland PPP) goes ahead then we can be relatively confident, but if it doesn't then we can't be too hopeful of getting a different result,' said Mr Breen. He said the west of Ireland PPP us currently being market tested.

'We hope that it's successful and will indicate confidence is coming back into the PPP system and then we'll be hopeful that our projects will go ahead on the same basis,' he said.

'They are still on track and that's why we are acquiring the land. Whatever method we use (to fund the road building projects), we'll have to have the land,' said Mr Breen.

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