The European Commission is going to contribute 14 million euros to the Londonderry to Coleraine rail upgrade in the interests of developing a well-running continent-wide transport infrastructure, which it believes is essential to maintaining the European Union’s competitiveness and wealth.
Transport Minister, Danny Kennedy, welcomed a multi-million funding package for both the Londonderry line and another rail project from Lisburn to Lurgan.
Up to 14,373,993.30 euros of EU funding has been allocated to the upgrading of the Coleraine to Londonderry rail line while the rehabilitation of tracks on the Knockmore to Lurgan rail line has received around 9,684,520.20 euros.
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.
Mr 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 July 10, 2015.