Transport Committee calls for investment

Transport Committee calls for investment

A House of Commons Transport Committee report has called for substantial investment in major roads over the next decade.

The report said that the Government needs to find new sources of funding to compensate for the fall in income from fuel duty due to the rise of "greener" vehicles.

The committee added that consensus will be required before a scheme to charge drivers for using major roads is introduced.

The Improving England's Strategic Road Network report was designed to establish a way to revamp England's motorway and major A-road network.

The report also questioned whether it is necessary to establish the Highways Agency, which runs the national road network, as a Government-owned company.

The RAC's technical director, David Bizley, said: "Successive governments have adopted a short-term approach to planning, development and maintenance of the national roads infrastructure. This has led to congestion and to the degeneration of the condition of many of our roads, rendering them unfit for purpose and incapable of supporting the nation's economic growth. It is vital this cycle is broken to bring the network up to speed, so it's encouraging to see the All Party Committee supporting the overall investment proposals.

"As we approach a general election, motorists will need assurance that within this Parliament, legislation is passed to underpin targeted long-term investment to ensure that overdue improvements go ahead over the next decade."

On the issue of the Highways Agency becoming a commercial company, Mr Bizley said: "The RAC has supported a move that would see the Highways Agency become a more commercial entity that is still ultimately responsible to the Government as we believe it will bring benefits for motorists.

"It is vital that the agency is given the freedom to operate in a manner that delivers improved performance and value for money in delivering the Roads Investment Strategy and that a new Highways Agency company is subject to independent oversight that commands the confidence of road users."

Copyright Press Association 2014