By Bryan Smyth
Responding to today’s announcement by Minister Donohoe of the spending increase, CEO of Cork Chamber Conor Healy said: “The statement this morning by Minister Donohoe is very much welcome and moves us ever closer to the development of the M20 as the recovery in public finances once again allows us to ramp up investment in key projects with significant economic, competitiveness and social benefits. This is the single most important project yet to be delivered for the nation’s road network so the provision of additional funds, we feel, must move it closer to realisation.
“The M20 would not just connect the country’s second and third cities by motorway but would also link in with the Galway to Limerick motorway and therefore be a game changer for the Atlantic seaboard, really benefitting the three cities and their hinterlands and a geographical area from the north-west to south east.”
Said James Ring, CEO of Limerick Chamber: “The very fact that Minister Donohoe spoke of the additional funding being made available for economic and social infrastructure is very promising as the M20 ticks both boxes emphatically. The Minister also stated that all new projects would go through cost-benefit analysis; our report joint Indecon/RED C report launched yesterday has clearly illustrated not just the need for the project but the considerable bounce it would be for the regions and nation as a whole.
“While we may not have had any projects announced in today’s summer economic statement, we have little doubt but we are a lot closer than we have been before to the M20 being delivered. If you were to look at the greatest strategic need the country has it is to balance the national economy and no other project will impact positively in that regard like the M20. We will not let up on making the case for it until we get confirmation that it’s sanctioned.”
Among the key findings of the Indecon/Red C report commissioned by Cork and Limerick Chambers and published yesterday were:
- The current N20 suffers from significant capacity constraints
- Development of the M20 would reduce Blarney to Patrickswell journey time by 16 minutes to approximately 47 minutes
- The M20 scheme would prevent approximately 118 accidents per annum
- The transport benefits would underpin the competitiveness of the South-West and Mid-West Regions
- The M20 would facilitate the development of a Cork-Limerick twin city region, which would provide a strong complement to Dublin and enable the opening of an Atlantic Economic Corridor
- The motorway would increase the labour force within a 45 minute commute of major employment centres by 23%
- The M20 has potential to support up to 5,400 additional direct jobs in the region
- The M20 would reduce stress and improve the quality of life for commuters