Tom Keighley

Member Article

Valuable road projects halted by major funding shortfalls

Almost a hundred high-value UK road projects, that could stimulate the growth agenda, are on hold due to massive shortfall in funding.

Research by consultancy firm Arup has shown that at least 96 projects that offer a good cost to benefit ratio are waiting for funding.

The shortfall is thought to be £12.8 billion, and the Highways Agency would be responsible for the majority of them, with a local authorities responsible for large minority.

Many of the cases have compelling benefits, estimated to deliver more than five pounds of economic benefit for every pound invested.

However, the agency only has a budget of £2.3 billion over the four years until 2014/15.

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC foundation, said: “This research will worry drivers and should concern government.

“With ministers talking up the need for infrastructure investment they should turn their attention to the offices of the Department for Transport where there are scores of schemes which deserve to be built.

“Congestion is set to increase dramatically in the coming years and these projects could make real differences to the lives of individuals and the economic needs of the country.”

He went on to add that where public funds are lacking, ministers should follow through on their promises to speed up the process of encouraging private investment in new capacity.

Transaction director with Arup, Alexander Jan, said: “There is a real opportunity for central government to look closely at what has worked internationally in getting essential infrastructure funded and delivered.

“Part of that solution needs to be about giving local and regional government the opportunity to help get important infrastructure funded through tried and tested methods available from abroad.

“Such an approach should be entirely consistent with the ministers’ localism agenda.”

The projects identified in the report were typically localised interventions at key bottlenecks, bypasses, widening projects and junction improvements, not new routes or megaprojects

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Tom Keighley .

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