Rail projects receive €24million EU funding boost

Transport Minister, Danny Kennedy, has welcomed a multi-million funding package for two Northern Ireland rail projects.

Up to €14,373,993.30 of EU funding has been allocated to the upgrading of the Coleraine to Derry/Londonderry rail line while the rehabilitation of tracks on the Knockmore to Lurgan rail line has received around € 9,684,520.20.

The news follows the Minister’s recent attendance at the TEN-T Days 2015 in Riga, which included a meeting with the European Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc. Funding for the two schemes has been made available through the Connecting Europe Facility.

Welcoming the news as he visited Translink’s York Road maintenance depot to see progress on the Enterprise refurbishment Danny Kennedy said: “This is great news and a further significant investment in our railways. It is also a further demonstration of my successful track record in drawing down European Funding.

“Competition for the funding was unprecedented, with 700 applications submitted, totalling €36billion of requested funding, three times more than that which was available.

“Given the level of over subscription, my Department has been extremely successful. This highlights the importance of active engagement in Europe.

“Considering the financial pressures faced by my Department, this announcement clearly demonstrates its ability to innovatively use EU funding programmes to create synergies across, and added value to, Northern Ireland’s transport infrastructure.”

The proposed funding decision must now be formally adopted by the Connecting Europe Facility Committee, which will meet on 10 July 2015.

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