The Transport Committee has called on the government to prioritise maintenance over ‘complex expansion projects’ in its latest report.
The committee’s report on strategic road investment said considering the costs of projects, net zero commitments and ageing assets, it should focus on ensuring portfolios ‘are deliverable and prioritise day-to-day maintenance’.
MPs have also argued that National Highways should include a formalised engagement process with sub-national transport bodies to ensure regional priorities are better served – and simplifying reporting on delivery of projects to ensure progress can be scrutinised.
According to evidence received, road users want the government to prioritise the current network being in a safe, good condition, and the committee said an ‘adequate proportion’ of the budget needs to be used for this purpose.
It also said there was ‘concerns’ that the switch to electric vehicles was swift enough to mitigate the impact of additional carbon emissions from increased traffic with a call for the situation to be monitored.
The Chair of the Transport Committee, Iain Stewart MP, said: “My Committee believes that the Department for Transport needs to ensure that future Road Investment Strategies are deliverable and reconsider the viability of its expensive enhancement projects.
“The Department should introduce more robust measures to assess deliverability when setting a Road Investment Strategy and must also produce a plan for how it will better anticipate and deal with risks to timely delivery.”