Fleet News

Prescott reveals Labour's 10-year transport dream

THE Government has revealed its 10-year £80 billion plan to 'give Britain a transport system to rival the best in Europe'. In Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott's vision of the future the car and the lorry 'will remain essential', but life will be made easier for 'motorists and business' with many proposals under active consideration.

An under-fire Prescott said Transport Minister Lord Macdonald would look in detail at the plan and its funding as the Government aimed 'to put our great transport project on track to keep Britain moving'. The announcement effectively signalled that Macdonald would take over day-to-day responsibility for transport policies within Prescott's unwieldy Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions.

'Our aim is simple and ambitious - to transform our transport infrastructure over the next 10 years, and make Britain's transport the rival of any in Europe,' said Prescott. He outlined three stages to the 10-year programme: establish the framework - the ideas, the structures and the laws which, he said, was already under way with the publication of the integrated transport white paper and the Transport Bill; the second stage was to put the framework into practice and begin to deliver 'so that cars, buses, trains and light rail work together' and the final stage was to produce a step change in investment, capacity and quality.

The various projects under consideration are reputed to cost about £80 billion and the 10-year plan will see: £1.4 billion spent on major trunk road schemes in the next seven years; £750 million to put local transport plans into action; more bypasses; the increased use of information technology to help motorists avoid traffic jams; towns and cities will have train, buses and rapid transit systems;park and ride schemes operating from the edge of towns and cities and rail stations; clean and comfortable buses; public/private investment partnerships; Transport Direct to be launched next year - a single telephone line to plan journeys.

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