Mr Patsy McGlone (Mid Ulster): To ask the Minister for Infrastructure what plans she has to address regional economic imbalance through investment in infrastructure.
Minister for Infrastructure: There has been an historical underinvestment in many parts of the north which has created a need to rebalance the economy to enhance lives and create opportunities more evenly.
I am determined to approach my role recognising that infrastructure isn’t an end in itself but rather a means to an end. Having a modern and sustainable water, drainage and transport infrastructure is an essential enabler to ensuring regionally balanced growth and in improving connectivity. My Department is about connecting people and opportunities.
I am committed to improving our infrastructure to help communities and make lives better with the funding made available to me. Water and sewerage infrastructure is key to unlocking potential growth and to deliver on the Programme for Government. It is essential to create jobs, build homes and grow our economy.
I am committed to improving connectivity by road and rail to enhance our public transport system and improve north-south connectivity. The Executive’s Flagships schemes – the A5, A6 and Belfast Transport Hub – along with the York Street Interchange and Narrow Water Bridge schemes are front and centre in the “New Decade, New Approach” agreement. Improving connectivity, both in terms of our road and public transport networks, is vitally important if we, as an Executive, are to grow our economy and improve well-being in line with our aspirations. I want to progress as much as possible in my two year tenure.