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Highways Agency "to become publicly-owned corporation"

for "operational issues"

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Highways Agency "to become publicly-owned corporation"

Post by falkor » Thu Jul 18, 2013 9:11 pm

The Government has committed to turning the Highways Agency into a publicly-owned independent company as part of its programme for reform of the strategic road network
OUT LAW 17 July 2013
A new paper, published by the Department for Transport (DfT), sets out its proposals for investing the £28 billion of investment by 2020 guaranteed by the recent Spending Round. This funding, which will include £12bn for road maintenance and resurfacing, is to be guaranteed by legislation so that it will survive future changes in government.

Infrastructure expert Jonathan Hart of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said that the paper contained "the usual mix of good and disappointing news". In particular, he highlighted the DfT's "clear reluctance to take the debate about road charging/tolling any further forward".

"It may be that discussion around the future A14 project might flush this out, but it is perhaps disappointing that this has not proved an opportunity to start a grown up discussion about how motorists are going to be required, over the long term, to pay for better roads," he said.

"The good stuff includes yet a further announcement of some of the same road projects we have been hearing fro some time now - 52 schemes of which some 16 are 'new' - and a feasibility study for the A303 around Stonehenge. There will be £500m committed to electric power for vehicles, although there will be some difficult questions as to which cities this cash is going to be spent in, no doubt. There is going to be innovation in the application of technology to ease congestion through managed motorways, which has been a major recent innovation for which the Highways Agency can take a fair degree of credit," he said.

The proposals cover motorways and major trunk roads in England, collectively known as the strategic road network. The Highways Agency is responsible for the construction and maintenance of these roads. It is currently an executive agency which is part of the DfT, but will be converted into a publicly-owned corporation with its own five-year 'roads investment strategy' budget, similar to the model already in use on the railways.