The N4 Mullingar to Rooskey upgrade project is not a key priority for the Department of Transport according to Minister Eamon Ryan.
The Transport Minister told Shannonside FM News that the real focus for the department, when it comes to roads funding, is town bypass works.
Speaking at today's launch of the country's first all electric town bus fleet in Athlone, Minister Ryan addressed concerns over the delays in progressing the long standing plans for the National route.
The January meeting of Longford County Council heard concerns that the Department of Transport was holding the project back.
The project to upgrade the road through Longford and Westmeath was shelved in 2009 due to the financial crisis, and work didn't start again until the last couple of years when the project had to start from scratch.
The Minister says it's vital for local town centres to be renewed first in order to draw people in and revitalize rural Ireland.
"The real priority has to be in town bypasses so that we follow through on the town centres first and bring life back to the centre of the towns and make that work. Those are the projects that are going to get the real priority. We've a limited budget, even though €34 billion is a lot of money. We have about 70 projects in planning so we have to prioritise. For me it's a clear message I'll be sending to the councillors later: town centres first".