The Freight Transport Association has called on the government to protect investment in essential infrastructure projects, following yesterday’s announcement that £683m is to be cut from the transport budget.
It has highlighted a number of project that should be saved including capacity improvements to the motorway and trunk road network, creation of a strategic freight network on the railways and ensuring that inland transport links enable ports to act as trade gateways.
Chief economist Simon Chapman said: “Work on key planned road schemes and rail upgrades is now critical, with many having suffered slippage as investment was prioritised and reprioritised by the last government.”
The FTA points out that the Eddington Transport Study in 2006 concluded that the economic case for targeted new infrastructure is strong and offers very high returns. Surface transport schemes that improve access to international gateways provide an average return of £6 per £1 of government spending. For inter-urban routes, the return is just under £5 per £1 of expenditure.
Chapman said: “Road users were at the front of the queue when it came to raising more tax revenue – the Budget fuel duty increase in April alone will raise an extra £700 million this year in taxes. Less than two months later, essential transport infrastructure investment must not be in the front line for cuts.”