The Highways Agency is to be transformed into a government-owned firm in the bid to save cash and ensure the management of England’s neglected main roads is improved.
Government entities has allocated £24 billion to look after the country’s motorways and main A-roads as much as 2021.
Which is hoped the reforms will save £2.6 billion of taxpayers’ money, improve conditions for motorists and make the agency more accountable.
Road network ‘has been neglected’
Patrick McLoughlin, the transport secretary, said: Our road network is an incredibly important national asset, but it has been neglected.
This government has committed to the most significant ever investment in our roads but it is vital we have the best foundations in place to make sure this huge sum of money is spent in the most efficient way.
The reformed Highways Agency will be more transparent and more accountable, driving down costs as it increases efficiency.
What this means is taxpayers have a better deal and road users get a network that is fit for the future economic demands on this country, assisting to create more jobs and support business growth.
Two new organisations
The reforms, now given approval from the government, will see two new organisations being set up to ensure that the Highways Agency (HA) becomes more accountable to MPs.
One body will probably be established to protect the interests of road users whilst the other could keep tabs around the HA’s costs and the way it performs.
Meanwhile, a long-term strategy covering investment in roads is set to get published by the Department for Transport later in the year.
The document will detail the brand new company’s long term vision as well as an investment plan and how it will probably be expected to perform.
Move welcomed by manufacturers’ organisation EEF
EEF business environment policy advisor Chris Richards said: Today’s green light moves us a stride closer to ending the stop-start cycle of investment inside our road network.
Too many previous road improvement schemes announced by ministers have been delayed or cancelled by successors as long-term funding and strategy wasn’t backed by legislation.
The proposed reforms change this by providing a guaranteed budget across 5yrs and giving the agency greater independence to plan ahead.