CBI demands highways revolution

08/10/2012
Highways Reporters

Bosses at the CBI are calling for a revolution in the way the country builds, repairs and manages its road network.

The CBI wants to see the the network placed in the hands of private operators and the Highways Agency phased out.

Drivers would see a set percentage of motoring taxes spent on roads while toll roads would become the norm.

John Cridland, CBI Director-General (pictured), said: “With public spending checked, the case for new funding solutions is even more compelling, and the Government recognises this.

“Infrastructure matters to business, and delivering upgrades to our networks is one of the highest priorities for the CBI to get the economy moving again.

“It’s clear we need a gear change in how we manage and pay for our road network in the 21st century.

“A lack of investment means we are really struggling to increase road capacity, let alone adequately maintain what we already have.”

The CBI wants to see a new independent roads regulator and and end to the split role of the Highways Agency looking after major roads and local authorities minor roads.

It said: The current system has created a two-tier system between strategic and local roads.

“Motorists are not concerned whether a road is national or local – they just expect a smooth journey from A to B.

“The CBI is proposing a redefinition of the strategic network to incorporate key economic routes and help support business activity.”

Private providers would manage regional sections of this expanded strategic road network.

Alain Bourguignon, CEO of Aggregate Industries, said: “We understand that Government tries to make the most of its limited cash – but unfortunately the most cost-effective course of action is rarely followed.

“A ‘best value’ approach is not always taken in repair and maintenance programmes.

“By transferring the management and maintenance of the road infrastructure to long term investment vehicles, we will see better planning, procurement and design of the assets, leading to better results for all.”
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