Fleet News

Think tank backs roads over rail in spending plans

INVESTMENT in roads rather than rail would be a far better use of the Government's £180 billion transport spend, according to a new research project from Cambridge University.

In the report, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, academics at the Department of Applied Economics, sharply criticised the Government's 10-year transport plan, arguing that its investment proposals for long-distance travel between urban areas, where road and rail compete most closely, have not been subject to cost-benefit appraisal.

The Government plans 'blindly' to spend three times as much on rail as on road development, despite the fact that: 'Research tends to confirm that the investment costs of improving passenger benefits are higher in rail than road and that road investments appear to be considerably more profitable than rail investments,' according to the researchers.

They added that: 'The level of interurban congestion at present and forecast is quite unjustifiable, given the relative ease with which it can be relieved, and imposes an unnecessary and unjustified cost to the economy. It is far from clear that these problems are better addressed by more rail investment.'

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