The government is being urged to create a £15bn ten-year fund to improve the condition of local highway networks in England.
The Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) calls for the new fund in a report that calls for a “new vision” for the nation’s local roads.
Any new fund should be additional to the current annual capital and revenue funding that local authorities receive for highway maintenance, says the CIHT. Total local road maintenance expenditure in 2017/18 was £3.65bn.
Under the Institution’s plan, an initial £7.5bn would be allocated over five years and distributed to local authorities on a yearly increasing basis alongside the introduction of a new national asset conditions database.
The remaining £7.5bn would be allocated in the second five-year period, with distribution taking account of local authority performance, asset conditions, road function and increasing length.
The CIHT calls for an improved system of monitoring to give clarity on local highway network performance. An outcome-based service specification should set out what road users can expect from the network, it says.
Another recommendation is a standard measure to calculate required funding for networks based on common standards of serviceability from a customer perspective.
On funding, the CIHT says the Government “should identify and develop alternative and additional sources of revenue to finance the future funding of local highways, including moves to where utilities pay the real cost of reinstatement”.
The CIHT also sees opportunities for road pricing to address congestion, reduce carbon and provide a potential funding source.
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