Labour party plans for road improvement projects come under fire
In its manifesto, Labour said it “will support long term investment on strategic roads”. However, it also said that it would freeze rail fares next year, with the cost to be covered by delaying improvements to the A27 in Hampshire and the A358 in Somerset.
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?”