The government has announced plans for new funding for UK transport projects after the decision to scrap the second phase of HS2.
As a result of the scheme’s cancellation, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak promised to spend ‘every single penny’ of the money saved on more transport plans, including rail and road improvements.
The £36bn budget includes £3.3bn set aside for a ‘long-term resurfacing fund’ for the North, £2.2bn to tackle potholes in the Midlands and increased funds for other regions.
Edmund King, president of motoring organisation the AA, said: “Cars and road transport are vital to how we live and work. Government figures show 58% of trips and 78% of distance travelled are made in cars, with more than 80% of freight being transported by road and indeed the most popular form of public transport, buses, use the roads.
“All modes of transport are important in the UK with public transport playing a major role, particularly in our towns and cities. An efficient road network, though, is vital for the economy and environment. Congestion costs businesses billions of pounds and is detrimental to air quality and CO2 emissions.”
However, the Department for Transport (DfT) have acknowledged that they do not have a timescale for when this road maintenance funding will occur. Highways Magazine suggests the money from the cancelled HS2 project would not be available until 2025.
The money may be allocated to National Highways’ maintenance spending for the next Road Investment Strategy which begins in 2025, or it could represent a five-year plan of capital funding for local road maintenance, something highway authorities have requested for a while. However, funding would have been expected regardless of the revoked HS2 plans.