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CALL FOR RENEWAL OF BRITAIN'S TRANSPORT SYSTEM

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The government must bring forward an urgent, three-year programme of investment that attacks the years of neglect o...
The government must bring forward an urgent, three-year programme of investment that attacks the years of neglect of Britain's transport assets, according to John Dawson, policy director at thw Automobile Association.

In an article for The Express (p11), Mr Dawson writes: 'Recent work by the AA has revealed the scale of how it has gone wrong. In 1975 we invested around£12bn a year in today's money on our roads and local transport system - and£12bn was raised from motorists and other road users in road fund licence and fuel tax.

'... Today we invest less than half that. Yet the economy and our ability to afford investment is far larger. The returns are larger too. Each year,£25bn is diverted from the transport sector to other sectors of the economy.'

He continues: 'The sad, almost unbelievable truth is that local and central politicians of all parties have failed in the basic stewardship of our transport system.

'For more than two decades they have spent essential maintenance and development seedcorn elsewhere. The consequences were often not easily visible to voters but the chickens have come home to roost.

'The Institute of Civil Engineers estimates that the backlog of essential repairs on local roads alone is£5bn, rising at just under£1bn a year.'

He concludes: 'A renewal programme is only the first step. There is more to do if we want to lift ourselves from the bottom of the European congestion league. Britain's transport system could be a source of national pride once again. It is just a matter of starting - now.'

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