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BIRMINGHAM'S HIGHWAY MAINTENANCE PFI GAINS GOVERNMENT APPROVAL

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Birmingham City Council leader Albert Bore today warmly welcomed ...
Birmingham City Council leader Albert Bore today warmly welcomed

the announcement* by transport ninister Tony McNulty, that the city's bid

for £379m of PFI credits had been approved by government.

Sir Albert said:

'This will be the UK's largest privately financed roads project to date.

It will be worth in excess of £2bn over 25 years and will provide a unique

opportunity to completely change the appearance of every street in the

city.

'With the help and advice of the local community we will be repairing or

replacing worn out pavements, increasing, improving and upgrading street

lighting and greening-up the streets with trees and shrubs. Local people

will have the chance to help determine priorities and influence the choice

of materials used.

This major new project fits in exceedingly well with our announcement this

morning of the extension of our You are Your City Clean and Safe campaign,

both of which will bring real improvements to the quality of life in local

communities.

'The council recognised the need to inject extra money into our streetworks

programme some time ago, and brought forward £10m from our own

budgets. This resulted in us being able to successfully undertake

significant additional works, culminating in government recognition with

the award of national beacon status for our streets and highway works.

'However, with over 9,000 roads to maintain in the city it was recognised

that massive additional funding was required to bring all roads,

particularly residential roads, up to, and maintained at, an acceptable

level. We talked to the government about how best to achieve this and are

now extremely pleased that they have recognised our case and support our

intention to make the city's roads amongst the best in the country.'

David Pywell, strategic director of development, acknowledged the

considerable amount of work that had gone into the project:

'Officer s have worked long and hard into making the best possible case to

the government. The award of the PFI is a real achievement which builds on

the success of the work carried out by dedicated Officers across the city.

'We hope to start on site within two years and then spend 5-7 years

removing the backlog of repairs. We recognise the importance of working

with local communities during this busy period and will ensure that the

contractor works closely with constituency teams and local councillors.'

The scope of the contract, which will go out to tender in August 2004 will

include all elements of the highway - roads, footways, street lighting,

bridges, traffic signals, street furniture - together with management of

utility works and on-going maintenance.

* Further details of today's announcement here.

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