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We're not paying for Stonehenge tunnel - it should be nationally funded, south west assembly tells Darling

THE STONEHENGE tunnel faced the axe last month as a funding row erupted between the Department for Transport (DfT) and the South West Regional Assembly.

The regional assembly is expected to drop the tunnel and a new relief road to the 2012 Olympics sailing centre at Weymouth from its 10-year plan. It wants the DfT to fund both schemes because it says they have national strategic importance.

But transport secretary Alistair Darling reclassified them as regional schemes in late 2004, ruling out national funding (GE January 2005).

Last month each English region, advised by their newly established regional transport boards, was due to produce spending plans for transport funds allocated for major local schemes and Highways Agency schemes considered of regional rather than national importance.

The South East Regional Transport Board has already indicated it will delay schemes to fund the £145M Hindhead tunnel (see box).

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