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Road spend lags behind targets - CFIT

BRITAIN'S ROAD building programme is lagging 'significantly behind' targets set in the 10 year plan, the government's key transport advisor has warned this week.

The Commission for Integrated Transport (CFIT) said that the Highways Agency's Targeted Programme of Improvements (TPI) must be 'expanded substantially' if targets are to be met.

The comments came in CFIT's second annual assessment of progress in delivering the government's 10 year plan.

Two years into the plan Highways Agency spending on new roads and widening schemes amounted to 2% of the plan's £21bn target spend, says the report. Schemes under construction account for a further 2%.

Overall the 70 schemes in the TPI are worth £2.52bn. This represents 442km of new or widened roads and amounts to 45% of the 10 year plan widening target. But just 9% of this work target is complete, says the report.

The government has already abandoned its 10 year plan target of reducing inter-urban road congestion by 5%. It now predicts that congestion will rise by up to 20% on all roads by 2010 but that the figure would have been higher if none of the 10 year plan provisions had been implemented. CFIT believes even this target is under threat.

'We have seen stronger than expected traffic growth, slippage in delivery timescales, a growing gap between public transport fares and motoring costs, a deterioration in rail performance and slow progress on congestion charging, ' said CFIT chairman professor David Begg.


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