FTA greets confirmation of M4 enhancement funding with caution

Posted on: Thursday, 11 July 2013 by Debbie Attwood

Today the Welsh Affairs Committee, chaired by David Davies MP for Monmouthshire, sat at the Senedd in Cardiff as part of its evidence gathering exercise on the Future of the Severn Bridges.

Providing evidence on this occasion was the Welsh Finance Minister Jane Hutt, who was answering question leveled at her by 11 Welsh Members of Parliament who formed the committee. The Severn Bridges are due to revert back into public ownership in approximately 2018. The Minister made it clear that the Welsh Government saw future ownership of the Severn Bridges as an opportunity to raise revenue for infrastructure projects in Wales, highlighting the M4 around Newport as the main benefactor. The Minister also suggested the tolls would be reduced especially for essential users and lorries, the cost of the maintenance would also be covered and the recent report on the tolls by consultants ARUP which clearly indicated that there would be a benefit to the GDP in South Wales of £107 million would also be taken into consideration when they look at what that toll should be.

 

FTA has greeted the news with caution - ideally members would like to see the toll reduced to a level which covered the £12 - £15 million maintenance cost only. Members would see any additional cost as unfair given that the bridges had already been paid for. Should hypothecation be adopted then FTA would like the level to be as low as possible and monies only used on improving the M4.

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