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Budget boosts infrastructure spending

Northern Ireland is set for a huge infrastructure spending boom following publication of its first draft budget last week.

The Draft Investment Strategy for Northern Ireland was produced by the Northern Ireland Executive.

It will see £5.6bn spent on infrastructure projects in the next three years, 25% up on the last three years' spend by central Government. The draft budget also allows for at least £18bn in infrastructure spending over the next 10 years.

Among the mooted projects is the Belfast rapid transit system, due to come into service in 2012.It remains to be decided, however whether this system will be a light rail or express bus service.

Executive finance minister Peter Robinson told a special sitting of the Assembly that this year's budget represented a clear break with the past.

Roads in Northern Ireland are also set to benefit from the budget with £572M of investment over the three years to 2011.

Northern Ireland Water has secured £646M to improve water and wastewater infrastructure with Belfast's ageing sewage system at the head of the queue for maintenance investment.

The Department for Regional Development (DRD) will assist Translink (Northern Ireland's integrated bus and rail public transport company) with the investment of £137M in railways.

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