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Birmingham highway maintenance PFI wins government approval

Trasnport secretary Ruth Kelly has today sanctioned a £588M Private Finance Initiative investment in Birmingham's highway network.

The deal - the biggest local authority PFI package in the country - will allow Birmingham City Council to secure a private sector partner to carry out improvements to local roads in the area over the next 25 years.

The schemes involves improvement to the local highway network and the maintenance of the network for 25 years. It consists of approximately 2,500km of road made up of principal roads, non-principal roads and unclassified roads. There are 85,000 street lights and 400 bridges. It does not cover investment in motorways, which is undertaken by the Highways Agency.

The next stage in the process is for Birmingham City Council to secure a partner for the work. When that is finalised, work could begin in 2009.

Government support of PFI credits for local authorities has now been endorsed by the interdepartmental Project Review Group (PRG). A full list of the schemes approved by PRG can be found on the website of the Department for Communities and Local Government at: www.local.communities.gov.uk/pfi/endorsed.xls

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