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CALL FOR MORE INVESTMENT IN SCOTTISH ROADS

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Urgent action is needed to improve the state of Scotland's roads, according to transport professionals. ...
Urgent action is needed to improve the state of Scotland's roads, according to transport professionals.

The Herald (p13) reports that Fraser Hutchinson, AA public policy manager for Scotland, told delegates at a conference of road experts that political short-termism and lack of investment had led to a catalogue of problems for road users.

He called for more road taxes to be spent on maintenance, claiming that the government raises£30bn a year from fuel tax and the licence disc, but spends just£6bn on roads. He also suggested all money raised by proposed road tolls should be spent directly on local road maintenance, instead of ending up in Treasury coffers.

His comments were backed by Bob McClellan, director of roads at Angus Council and member of the Society of Chief Officers of Transportation in Scotland, which organised the conference.

He said the problem lay with politicians at both local and national level. 'It has to made clear that the current trend of cutting back on road funding in the short and medium term cannot continue.'

He estimated the asset value of Scotland's local authority roads network at around£3bn, while the current collective spend by councils stood at just under£100m a year.

'If underfunding is allowed to continue, this will undoubtedly lead to further serious deterioration of the network, unsafe roads and a much more significant financial problem in years to come. Money spent now will save much more money later, will save accidents and, inevitably, lives on our roads. The present situation is building up for a major problem in the not too distant future.'

Scottish roads minister Calum MacDonald said last night that the government regarded it as a priority to tackle the 'big backlog' of maintenance and disrepair it had inherited after successive years of cuts, but pointed out it was responsible only for trunk roads.

Asked about problems affecting minor roads, a Scottish Office spokesman said: 'Local authorities receive a block allocation each year covering a range of services and it is entirely up to them whether they choose to prioritise roads expenditure.'

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