Roads underspend should be used to address pothole crisis

Highways Reporters

The Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) wants spare funds to be used to help address the UK’s deteriorating road network.

That’s the message from RSTA chief executive Howard Robinson (pictured) following admittance by the Department for Transport (DfT) of a considerable underspend.

In its ‘Mid-year report to Parliament: April to September 2013’, DfT states that there will be a possible underspend by the Highways Agency of £330 million against its total budget £3,561m. It reports that much of the underspend is due to increased efficiencies and re-phasing of projects to future years in order to accommodate proposed EU requirements on air quality. Whilst some of the underspend will be used to fund additional projects such as £115m for Transport for London and £47m for Cycle City Ambition schemes and £40m reinvestment into Highways Agency priority schemes, the remainder will be used for ‘ongoing fiscal consolidation’.

Robinson would like to see the spare funds re-allocated to local authorities. He said: “For local authorities facing reduced highway budgets and a £10 billion pothole crisis using spare funds for fiscal consolidation is of little use.

“The DfT should consider re-allocating the underspend to where it could it make a real difference in addressing our deteriorating road network.”
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