A SCOTTISH Transport Board with powers to raise £200M a year should be created to tackle the country's travel infrastructure problems, a Government think-tank has proposed.
The idea comes from the Transport Pathfinder group, one of 13 industry groups set up by the Scottish Office to consider implications of devolution.
The STB would use revenue from congestion charging and tolling schemes to raise leveraged funding. Given annual revenues of £25M, the Pathfinder group believes the STB would be able to borrow 'seven or eight times that amount'.
It adds: 'The Bond would bear interest at near-gilt-edged rates which are much cheaper than the venture capital costs of PFI funding.'
The Pathfinder group suggests the new funds could be used, for example, 'to reduce the Kingston Bridge bottleneck in Glasgow' or 'to complete the M74'.
Further support for using tolls to upgrade transport infrastructure comes from the Construction Pathfinder group.
The Construction group, which was chaired by Morrison chairman Sir Fraser Morrison, claimed: 'Real tolling of the M8, for example, could not only provide the finance for the necessary improvement plans recently shelved, but in the longer term could produce a flow of revenue which could be targeted at improving the rail infrastructure between Edinburgh and Glasgow.'