Local roads to benefit from investment, says DfT

Local roads are set to benefit from a share in a multi-billion pound improvement fund as part of an investment strategy unveiled by Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling. The Transport investment strategy sets out a new long-term approach for government infrastructure spending, meaning cash will be targeted at projects that help rebalance the economy. It features the proposed creation of a new major road network, which would see a share of the annual National Road Fund, funded by Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), given to local authorities to improve or replace the most important A roads under their management.

Priority is set to be given for projects that cut congestion, support growth, boost Britain’s global competitiveness or unlock new housing. The new plans mean that main roads currently overseen by local authorities would share the VED funded National Roads Fund which was previously envisaged to be ring-fenced for national routes. UK VED was £5.8bn for 2016-17.

Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, said: “Getting transport spending right is crucial for the country’s future. The transport investment strategy sets out a blueprint for how we can harness the power of transport investment to drive balanced economic growth, unlock new housing projects, and support the government’s modern industrial strategy. This government is taking the big transport decisions for Britain’s future like HS2 and Heathrow, while delivering the biggest investment in roads and rail for a generation. At the heart of our approach is a plan to make transport work for the people who use it and for the wider economy.”

Chief Executive of Transport for the North, David Brown, said: “There are some significant steps forward in this Report. The fact that the Government says its national Transport Investment Strategy ‘sets out a new long-term approach for government infrastructure spending – meaning cash will be targeted at projects that help rebalance the economy’ has to be good news for the North.”

A key point, says the TfN Chief Executive, is the creation of a Major Roads Network funded by VED, which it believes will help emerging sub-national transport bodies like TfN and their local authorities better connect towns and cities and improve business links.

FTA’s Head of National and Regional Policy, Christopher Snelling, said: “FTA believes that the government focus on investing in roads that will deliver improved performance, economic growth and reduce bottlenecks is correct.

“Major local authority roads form a crucial part of the road network so our members welcome the news that the new fund can be allocated to support a wider range of projects. However, this extension of use will undoubtedly mean greater calls on one pot of money, so the Government will need to support infrastructure investment beyond just that provided by VED.”

The transport investment strategy can be downloaded here: https://goo.gl/a1LxRj

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