Labour pledges to invest in roads

13/04/2015
Highways Reporters

Labour will support long-term investment in strategic roads, address the neglect of local roads and promote cycling if it wins the General Election.

The party has launched its election manifesto with leader Ed Miliband guaranteeing that all policies outlined in it would require no extra borrowing.

Despite Labour’s statement about road improvements, the party revealed that it would introduce a one-year freeze in rail fares, costing £200m, paid for by delaying upgrades to the A27 and A358 trunk roads.

In response, RAC chief engineer David Bizley, said: “While the promise from Labour to place a greater focus on improving local roads – something the RAC has long since called for – is to be welcomed, on behalf of motorists we would like clarity on what exactly is the party’s position on the strategic road network.

“On the one hand, the party states it ‘support[s] long-term investment in strategic roads’, but on the other reports indicate it plans to divert funds destined for two much-needed projects in Somerset and Hampshire to help fund a cap on rail fare increases. These two projects are fully costed, should have strong economic cases, and formed part of the previous government’s Road Investment Strategy (RIS) which was sold to motorists as such a long-term vision for our strategic roads.

“It would be a serious retrograde step for the nation’s roads if the RIS itself is now gone back upon, before there has been time for it to deliver tangible improvements to our roads. Is there also a risk that, as other spending cuts take hold, delayed projects actually never end up seeing the light of day?”

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