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Find out the latest on highways spending

ICE Events

Highways Agency divisional director Richard Eastman was in an ebullient mood when unveiling the Agency's 2005/06 business plan back in April.

Seven months on, will his mood be so positive?

Find out by taking your seat at Civils 2005 on 23 November, when Eastman will deliver the keynote address in the morning session of the Transport & Infrastructure Day.

Back in April, Eastman's confi dence was based on Agency fires promising a £2.1bn capital spend on highways projects over the next three years. This was up on the £1.9bn promised by the Department for Transport in December based on Chancellor Gordon Brown's comprehensive spending review.

'We are in the pleasant position of expanding budgets, ' he told NCE. 'The 10-year plan anticipated spending more on major schemes towards the end of the plan period. This is just showing the Treasury has delivered on those commitments, ' he said.

The original 10-year plan ran from 2000 to 2010, and the Agency's latest figures show capital spend jumping from £443M in 2005/06 to £821M in 2006/07 and £836M in 2007/08.

All good news in theory - but what effect will transport secretary Alistair Darling's wish for regional transport boards have on decision making?

Again Eastman was in confi dent form. 'It is a mistake to see the regional process as delaying the programme at all, ' he said.

But does this confidence stack up- Almost a year after Darling's announcement, few regions have yet to set up their boards, let alone begin making decisions.

Are you convinced- Get down to Civils and demand an answer.

For a full conference programme see page 16.

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