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Budget Brown bypasses chance for road strategy

INTEGRATED TRANSPORT measures announced in this week's Budget failed to live up to expectations.

Chancellor Gordon Brown announced a £120M increase in rural transport projects over the next two years but failed to announce any other measures, despite heavy increases in fuel tax.

Instead, he introduced tax breaks for companies with green commuter plans and incentives for company car drivers to keep mileage low.

'The Chancellor had the opportunity to put in place the resources necessary to achieve the visionary integrated transport strategy presented in last year's transport White Paper. This opportunity has been missed,' said ICE Vice President Joe Dwyer.

He criticised Brown for failing to allocate more money from increased fuel taxes to public transport projects.

Instead the main transport emphasis in Tuesday's Budget was on cutting vehicle emissions.

Brown announced further tax increases of 4.25p a litre on leaded petrol and 3.79p on unleaded petrol. He also signalled that he wanted more motorists to shift to smaller cars by cutting vehicle excise duty on cars with engines below 1.1 litre by £55 to £95. He also doubled tax breaks for low emission lorries and buses from £500 to £1,000 a year.

In a separate development Brown announced the introduction of draft legislation to tax extraction of hard rock, sand and gravel.

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