Opinion Former Article

CIHT comment on Proposed Road Privatisation

The government today announced proposals to carry out a feasibility study looking at how private sector funds could be used to fund road maintenance, improvements and construction.

Whilst confirmed details are still to be clarified, this could potentially see the start of ‘privatisation’ of the UK’s strategic road network.

CIHT welcomes the decision by the UK government to carry out this study, whilst acknowledging that there needs to be more research carried out into the role that can be played by the private sector.

CIHT recently launched ‘Infrastructure Funding & Delivery: An Action Plan for Change’ that provides a detailed ‘route map’ for change and suggests new and innovative models for funding transport infrastructure.

Sue Percy, CIHT Chief Executive said:

“The funding and delivery of UK infrastructure needs to change to ensure that the infrastructure necessary for the UK to compete globally is in place, planned and improved over the short, medium and longer term.”

“Our report contains a number of recommendations including that the UK’s National Infrastructure Plan should be extended to include a 20 year timeline to help provide private investors with the confidence that they need. Our members have highlighted that this commitment alongside a clear and consistent message on where infrastructure is needed and likely to be financially viable are crucial in moving the agenda forward. ”

The current pressures on UK public spending combined with an improved public understanding of what is required have created an opportunity to consider the introduction of road pricing. CIHT believe that road pricing at both the national and local level has the potential to deliver economic, social and environmental benefits. Due to the perceived lack of public support for road pricing, any scheme must also provide significant improvements in the capacity and quality of viable alternative travel by public transport.

Sue Percy, CIHT Chief Executive said:

“We all know that the UK’s current financial situation means that there is likely to be limited opportunity for large public spending infrastructure projects and we will need a mature debate about the role of user charging and private sector investment in new infrastructure.

“Road pricing offers a solution; a shift away from taxation to charges at the point of use and the opportunity to attract private sector to the potential revenue streams available from tolling.”

CIHT calls for greater transparency between transport costs and transport funding to be created. It is vital that the proposed revenue from any road pricing scheme is reinvested in the transport network, to increase public transport capacity and to ease pinch points on the major roads network.

ENDS

Notes for Editors
A copy of CIHT’s ‘Infrastructure Funding & Delivery: An Action Plan for Change’ document is available here

CIHT’s manifesto ‘The Future for Highways & Transportation’ proposes solutions to many of today’s challenges and is available here.

Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation

CIHT is a membership organisation representing over 12,000 people who work in the highways and transportation sector.

CIHT members plan, design, build, operate and maintain best-in-class transport systems and infrastructure, whilst respecting the imperatives of improving safety, ensuring economic competitiveness and minimising environmental impact.

CIHT supports its member’s professional endeavours by:
• offering training, information, professional development and support
• promoting the value added to society by the profession
• being the focused voice to Governments and other decision makers on transportation expertise and knowledge.

For more information please contact:
Daniel Isichei, Director of Communications, CIHT on t: +44 (0) 20 7336 1567 m: 07912122573 e: Daniel.Isichei@ciht.org.uk  

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