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Unite and fight: Stop the transport cuts

Comment

For too long now the UK has been struggling along valiantly with an overcrowded, ageing and poorly maintained transport infrastructure. No more - it is time for the engineers to take a stand.

NCE's 'Stop the Transport Cuts' campaign is intended to trigger the change in thinking required. The intention is to make sure that every politician, influencer and decision maker knows precisely why it is so important to raise investment in our roads, railways and interchanges.

We have 10 rock solid examples of transport projects crying out for government commitment. This means clearing the way for planning approval and if necessary passing legislation as well as finding the cash to pay for the projects.

Realistically, will it make a difference? After all, this government does not have a great track record for matching commitment to transport infrastructure with real delivery. Will a few civil engineers making a fuss really effect any change?

Well yes; if we get our act together and do it properly, we really can.

Let's face it, already we are seeing the tide turn in our favour. The recent OECD report on the state of the UK economy, for example, highlighted that while the government had the public coffers in great shape, it was spending too much on the health service and not nearly enough on the nation's transport infrastructure.

The government is also now getting its head round the fact that, compared to many of its other contractors - say those building aircraft carriers or combat aircraft' and delivering IT projects - construction firms are now pretty good at spending tax payers' money efficiently.

So why focus on these 10 schemes? Why have we chosen to ignore the dozens of other perhaps equally important transport schemes all across the UK that could have made it into the list?

We have taken on board the views submitted by NCE readers over the last few weeks and have linked these with those from around the rest of the industry.

We think the list represents the UK's transport needs and if delivered would really make a difference. There are others of course but we want to focus our efforts. What is certain is that without Gordon Brown's support, none of them will get past go.

Maths is the focus of this week's issue and in particular our new Clever Clogs competition and we hope this will entertain and challenge you each week. But it does not take a great mathematician to work out that Gordon Brown will struggle to balance his books in July unless he seriously lops spending from public services.

Clever Clogs is fun but 'Stop the Transport Cuts' is vital. If we do not take this opportunity to put transport infrastructure clearly on the map, rest assured we will see a new 10 year transport plan published in July which is once again without the vital Treasury commitment needed to make it a reality.

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