COVID crisis delays Welsh trunk roads transfer

28/07/2020
Rhodri Clark

The planned transfer of Welsh Government highways functions to Transport for Wales (TfW) has been postponed indefinitely.

The Government owns the M4 in South Wales and other trunk roads, delegating maintenance to local authorities, which make up the regional trunk road agents.

Last year, TfW said it expected bus functions to transfer to TfW from the Government in 2020 and highways functions in 2021.

Simon Jones, the government’s director of economic infrastructure, has told Senedd members that changes to bus funding will impact on the bus functions transferred to TfW.

‘I think the lion’s share of the rest of the work that we were considering transferring is around highway functions,’ he said.

‘Because of Covid, we’ve had to pause that work and that will be reconsidered in the next Senedd term, because we simply cannot devote the resource required to transferring those functions now while we’re trying to deal with Covid.’

The next term will begin after the May 2021 election. TfW manages rail services and is developing centralised expertise on active travel, to support local authorities.

In February, chief executive James Price said TfW wished to avoid having ‘modal champions who fight against each other’ once TfW was covering multiple transport modes.

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