CORK Chamber is seeking key infrastructural projects for Cork to be prioritised in the upcoming budget.
Based on a survey of its 1,200 members in Cork city and county, the organisation is recommending major investments in road and transport projects around the city and into the rest of the region.
The projects it wants to see prioritised are the M20 Cork – Limerick Motorway, the Cork Rapid Bus Transit Corridor, the M28 to Ringaskiddy, the N22 Cork-Kerry Road, the Dunkettle Interchange, and the Cork Northern Ring Road, along with upgraded intercity rail tracks to reduce the rail journey time from Cork to Dublin and investment in car parking at Cork commuter rail stations to maximise utilisation of of the public transport network.
The Chamber is also seeking additional state funding for the development of Cork Events Centre, with an application for said funding currently pending departmental approval, and €12m towards the tourism marketing budget for Tourism Ireland to market Ireland and Cork overseas.
The submission also proposes measures to improve Ireland’s overall competitiveness and attractiveness as a business location.
Among the calls are changes to Ireland’s tax regime, with the Chamber recommending a reduced rate of Capital Gains Tax, a reduction in the marginal rate of tax for all workers, and equal tax treatment between PAYE workers and those self-employed.
The importance of making Ireland a more attractive place to live is also emphasised by highlighting the need for more supply of affordable housing, increasing investment in public transport, and lowering the cost of childcare.
Commenting on the budget submission, Conor Healy, Cork Chamber CEO, said: "Members of Cork Chamber have expressed overwhelming support for capital investment to take centre stage in the forthcoming budget. The only way to ensure continued jobs growth in Cork is through more investment in our infrastructure to relieve pressures on the capital, especially in housing but also in public transport and our road network.
"Cork has ambitious plans to grow our population to 840,000 people and attract another 120,000 jobs by 2050. We believe the budget should start this process by investing in much needed projects in Cork to strengthen Ireland’s second city offering."
Paul O’Connell, Chair of Cork Chamber’s Budget Committee, added: "Budget 2018 should reinforce the message that Ireland is open for business and we want more people to come join us.
"We believe this is achievable if we make small but important changes to our tax system, as well as gearing Irish business for the changing economic landscape and imminent challenges that will come as a consequence of UK’s decision to depart from the EU."