YP Comment: Road to nowhere

Potholes in North Yorkshire
Potholes in North Yorkshire
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WHERE does the money go? UK motorists, already the most taxed in Europe, have every right to ask this after a report revealed the truly shocking state of the country’s roads. There is now such a backlog of repairs, including potholes, that it will cost £11.8bn – and take 14 years – to bring surfaces up to scratch.

There is now such a backlog of repairs, including potholes, that it will cost £11.8bn – and take 14 years – to bring surfaces up to scratch.

Even though the Government has set aside £6bn for local councils to spend on improvements, do not be fooled by the size of this sum – it is for the duration of the whole Parliament and won’t keep pace with the deteriorating quality of surfaces because of record traffic levels. And there’s another point; town hall finances are so stretched that this money has, and will, be diverted to more pressing priorities.

What is the way forward? It’s very difficult for Ministers to tell councils what to do when the Government is pressing ahead with regional devolution. However,
there’s a case for a greater proportion of the various vehicle and fuel taxes paid by motorists to be ring-fenced so more money can be made available for the most urgent repairs.

Unless this false economy is stopped, the final repair bill will become even greater – and keep growing just like the rush-hour traffic jam – because successive governments failed to recognise that it is the country’s crumbling 
roads which are supposed to keep the wheels of the economy turning on a daily basis.