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£2 billion to be invested in Britain's roads and railways

By Scott Maclennan

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Downing Street briefing.
Downing Street briefing.

Transport minister Grant Shapps has said £2 billion is to be invested in transport infrastructure in the wake of the coronavirus lockdown.

At yesterday's Downing Street briefing Mr Shapps said: “The package includes £1.7 billion for local roads, making journeys smoother and safer for drivers, hauliers, cyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians and others.

“By filling millions of dangerous potholes we can make our roads safer and encourage more people to cycle or even take part in the upcoming e-scooter trials, helping more people, relieving public pressure on public transport.

“This investment will help fix damage caused by the winter flooding, repair roads and bridges and fund numerous road improvement schemes.

“As more people become mobile again we will also be building a network of rapid charging stations for electric cars including a big expansion of rapid charging facilities at motorway service stations, helping the country to lock in the dramatic air quality improvements we've experienced during the coronavirus lockdown."

Extra cash is likely to come to Scotland for similar transport spend under the Barnett formula.

Mr Shapps also said that a total of 2.2 million tests had now been carried out for coronavirus, with a new daily high of 126,064 tests done two days ago.

“Amid all the sad news and the tragedy of loved ones with lost, we somehow managed to do things in weeks that would normally take years –building new hospitals, moving public services online, making instant reforms and fast-tracking new laws – extraordinary changes in the way the employers and employees work effectively, taking swathes of the economy online almost overnight," he said.

“We want to ensure that we can maintain this momentum and if building a new hospital takes just two weeks why should building a new road still takes as long as 20 years? If GP surgeries can move online, why are most rail passengers still travelling on cardboard tickets?

“We must exploit our new-found capacity to respond at pace and apply it to rapidly improving our infrastructure, and we must examine why bureaucratic bindweed makes British infrastructure some of the costliest and slowest in Europe to build."

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