Chris Ames 30 October 2018

Budget 2018: Local roads get £420m maintenance boost

The chancellor has announced an immediate £420m cash boost for local authority highway maintenance budgets with millions more for local transport projects.

In his Budget speech, Philip Hammond announced that the Government will allocate £420m to local authorities during the current financial year ‘to tackle potholes, repair damaged roads, and invest in keeping bridges open and safe’.

The government will also make £150m of National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) cash available to local authorities for ‘small improvement projects such as roundabouts’.

Howard Robinson, chief executive of the Road Surface Treatments Association said: 'The reactive additional funding announced by Philip Hammond shows that he has failed to do the maths and understand the economic folly of spending an average £52 per square metre to repair a pothole against the £2 per square metre to surface dress and maintain a road.

'The odd additional funding for pothole repairs is welcomed but it is no substitute for the long-term funding of road maintenance programmes that would prevent the potholes from forming in the first place.'

Mr Robinson also questioned the chancellor’s decision to award £28.8bn to fund improvements on the national road network. He said: 'Whilst improvement to the strategic road network is welcomed. The chancellor must understand that a well-maintained local road is essential for the national economic prosperity of the country.'

As part of the NPIF, the Government is extending the Transforming Cities Fund by a year to 2022-23 at a cost of £770m.

This will provide an extra £240m to the six metro mayors for transport investment in their areas, with 21m for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, £69.5m for Greater Manchester, £38.5m for Liverpool City Region, £23m for West of England, £71.5m for the West Midlands, and £16.5m for Tees Valley.

A further £440m will be made available to the city regions shortlisted for competitive funding. Ten city regions are eligible for this funding, and the Government will shortly be announcing a further two.

In addition, to support the Industrial Strategy Future of Mobility Grand Challenge, £90m from the NPIF will be allocated to the Transforming Cities Fund to create Future Mobility Zones. This will trial new transport modes, services, and digital payments and ticketing.

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