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Local roads to benefit from multi-billion pound fund

Increase in traffic prompts gridlock warning

Local roads are set to benefit from a share in a multi-billion pound improvement fund as part of an investment strategy unveiled by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.

It sets out a new long-term approach for Government infrastructure spending — meaning cash will be targeted at projects that help rebalance the economy, it says.

It features the proposed creation of a new major road network, which would see a share of the annual National Road Fund, funded by VED, given to local authorities to improve or replace the most important A roads under their management.

The plans aim to improve productivity and connectivity of towns and cities across the country — tackling bottlenecks and traffic jams for road users, and taking away the misery of lorries and through-traffic thundering through rural villages on main roads.

The scheme will also aim to help people get to work or school by better connecting towns and cities, unlock land for new homes, and improve business links.

Grayling said: “Getting transport spending right is crucial for the country’s future.

“The transport investment strategy sets out a blueprint for how we can harness the power of transport investment to drive balanced economic growth, unlock new housing projects, and support the government’s modern industrial strategy.

“This government is taking the big transport decisions for Britain’s future like HS2 and Heathrow, while delivering the biggest investment in roads and rail for a generation.

“At the heart of our approach is a plan to make transport work for the people who use it and for the wider economy.”

The proposals for the major road network respond to the Rees Jeffreys Road Fund study last year, which highlighted the disparity between the funding and planning of Britain’s motorways — the strategic road network — and local authority A roads.

The new plans mean that main roads currently overseen by local authorities would share the VED funded National Roads Fund which was previously envisaged to be ring-fenced for national routes. UK VED was £5.8bn for 2016-17.

The transport investment strategy also plans for a new ‘rebalancing’ measure, which will judge how investment programmes contribute to a more balanced economy, and prioritises investment that increases productivity or growth, supports new housing, improves reliability and tackles congestion.

Investment, says the Government, should support every part of the country, and, where needed, fast track smaller schemes that are proven solutions so passengers and drivers get the benefits more quickly.

It is set to form a vital part of the modern industrial strategy and builds on the progress made in recent years of upgrading the road and rail network.

The Government is investing more than £61bn over the five years to 2020-21.

The transport investment strategy sets out why investing in transport infrastructure matters and the priorities for future investment.

Under four separate themes, it sets out propositions to guide future transport investment decision making.

Firstly, it should ensure investment consistently meets the needs of users and helps to create a balanced economy.

It should get best value out of the network and the Government’s investment and maintain a resolute focus on delivery.

Finally, it should show adaptability in the face of change.

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