The Freight Transport Association has welcomed the Prime Minister’s call for an urgent increase in private investment in transport infrastructure, but has warned against additional costs.
The association says that making the cost of road use more explicit would give road users a greater stake in the network performance that they could reasonably expect.
In a speech on national infrastructure today at the Institute of Civil Engineering, David Cameron said: “We will invest over £30 billion in transport projects over the next four years… we are publishing a detailed plan setting out the infrastructure Britain needs and how we will unlock £200 billion worth of public and private sector investment to deliver it.”
Theo de Pencier, FTA’s chief executive, said: “In the current tight fiscal conditions, we understand the need to look at new ways of funding infrastructure and we look forward to helping shape the debate about how that could be done.
“The freight industry will want to look at how these plans relate to existing transport taxes such as fuel duty and vehicle excise duty, and how any new pricing structures can be developed to ensure that the new capacity is utilised in the most efficient and effective way. Given that road users already pay £41 billion a year in taxes, charges and tolls, then any new cost cannot be in addition to this and must be a substitution for fuel duty.”
The FTA argues that investment in the strategic road network should be a long term commitment, rather than spending annually to balance the treasury’s books.