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RDAs to lobby government to push transport up political agenda

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REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT Authorities (RDAs) will next month urge civil servants to give more weight to the national economic benefits of transport schemes when deciding if they should go ahead.

Nine RDAs will put the radical proposals to senior Department for Transport (DfT) officials.

It is hoped they will breathe new life into major long term projects like the proposed London to Scotland high speed rail line.

The RDAs believe current appraisals of transport schemes fail to account for benefits beyond the region in which they are to be built and want to see a fully workable assessment tool developed (NCE 11 December 2003).

Next month DfT roads, regional and local transport director general Robert Devereux will meet RDA project leader Advantage West Midlands chairman Nick Paul to discuss the idea.

Advantage West Midlands is leading the project on behalf of the nine RDAs. Technical expertise is being provided by consultant FaberMaunsell.

'If the new approach is to be taken forward it has to be recognised by DfT and that they have said that they want to work in partnership is a good sign, ' said Advantage West Midlands planning and transport executive Sue Mann.

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