Minister accused of prioritising own objectives over common good by Armstrong

Alliance MLA Kellie Armstrong has accused the Infrastructure Minister of prioritising his own objectives instead of the common good, as he admitted a £165 million road project was on hold.

The York Street Interchange was designed to ease congestion around the meeting point of M1, M2 and M3, close to the Westlink. Work was due to begin next year. However, the Department for Infrastructure confirmed the scheme was “on hold” due to financial worries following the Brexit vote.

Alliance Infrastructure spokesperson Ms Armstrong said she had been alerted to the matter during the last Infrastructure Committee meeting, when Departmental officials had left York Street off a list of priority projects.

“There again remains an issue with the lack of openness and transparency from the Executive. Rather than following normal budget protocols, including public consultation, the Minister is charging ahead with projects and putting things on hold without allowing either the Committee to scrutinise his actions or the wider public to have a say.

“Coming as it does at the intersection of three motorways, York Street has more people a day stuck in traffic jams there than Dungiven sees. Yet the Minister was able to recently announce a major upgrade project there but today we have had confirmation the York Street scheme is officially on hold.

“While it is important to invest west of the Bann, it is clear in this instance the Minister has prioritised his and his party’s infrastructure objectives instead of what is best for Northern Ireland, while attempting to avoid any scrutiny of his actions.”

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