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No highway robbery


I would like to correct your reporting of the secretary of state's announcement of the £1.9bn programme of major schemes on strategic roads over the next three years (News 9 December).

This programme is not £400M down in real terms over the previous three years, but £600M or 50% up, as the table below shows.

The figure given by Simon Chatman, the FTA's chief economist, of £2.13bn capital spend on strategic roads between 2002-03 and 2004-05, includes £0.74bn on capital programmes other than major road schemes (for example, small schemes and technology investment).

The article also compares the figure of £1.9bn for major schemes investment with the £3.9bn three-year total promised in the government's original 10 year transport plan.

Again, the 10 year plan figure includes expenditure on other capital programmes, as well as expenditure on major road renewals (ie maintenance), which is now classified as resource expenditure.

In fact, the public capital investment on strategic roads over 2005-06 to 2007-08 is exactly in line with the levels in the 10 year plan.

Keith Miller (F), director of major projects, Highways Agency, Albion House, Lime Street, Bedford MK40 1LD

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