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The BBC's Simon Montague
"Cutting congestion while protecting the environment is the aim"
 real 28k

Bernard Jenkin, Conservative Transport spokesman
This is more Labour promises and so far no delivery
 real 28k

Alan Francis, Green Party transport spokesman
"My big fear is the plan will encourage more people to get into cars."
 real 28k

Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London
"The big money does not come until after the general election"
 real 28k

Thursday, 20 July, 2000, 17:58 GMT 18:58 UK
Huge cash boost for road and rail
John Prescott on a train
Mr Prescott wants to improve life for commuters
Transport Secretary John Prescott has announced a 180 billion 10-year plan to ease road congestion and boost public transport.

Mr Prescott told the House of Commons that the 75% real terms spending increase aimed to reverse "decades of decline" in the transport infrastructure.

Transport Plans
60bn into rail - 50% more passengers
30bn into roads - 100 new bypasses
26bn into local transport schemes - 25 new light rail systems
3.2bn for London - new transport links
The Transport 2010 plan includes 60 billion for railways, 59 billion for roads and 59 billion for local transport schemes, with just over a quarter of the funding coming from private investment.

Tory spokesman Bernard Jenkin said people had heard it all before, but were still waiting for overcrowded trains and in traffic jams.

Mr Prescott acknowledged that not all the investment was new money, but that there would be an extra 50 billion of public expenditure.

Rail

The deputy prime minister said the 60bn rail proposals, which take in Scotland and Wales, would lead to lower fares, improved signalling systems and station facilities, and aimed to get more freight off the roads and on to the railway.

He pledged to implement new train protection systems and, in reponse to a question raised by the chair of the transport select committee, Gwyneth Dunwoody, promised to act on any further recommendations from the Cullen Inquiry into the Paddington train crash,

"Safety will always come first in my priorities," he said.

Tram in Sheffield
25 more light railway systems will be built
The Strategic Rail Authority is to be given 7bn more, as well as stronger powers to ensure that rail companies make the required investment in rolling stock to improve services.

Roads

Plans worth 21bn to improve the roads system in England include the building of 100 new bypasses around villages and towns, and plans to widen 360 miles of congested roads such as the A1 and M6.

Mr Prescott also promised new low-noise surfaces on 60% of trunk roads and more investment in "electronic motorways" to give motorists more travel information.

Road congestion has been steadily increasing and is forecast to increase futher, but Mr Prescott pledged to reduce congestion by 5% below current levels within 10 years.

Traffic jam
A promise to reduce congestion 5% below current levels
Motorway tolls have been ruled out for a decade, but local authorities will be encouraged to introduce congestion charging and workplace parking charges.

Buses and trams

As part of the 26bn settlement for local transport schemes in England, Mr Prescott said he aimed to increase bus use by 10%.

In rural areas the aim is to provide a third more households with an hourly bus service within a 10-minute walk.

Resources will be provided for 25 new tram and light railway systems in towns and cities, building on the success of new tram systems in many town centres.

London

With 3.2bn extra investment in transport for London, Mr Prescott said he had exceeded Mayor of London Ken Livingstone's request for 3bn more funds.

The funds would provide for new links, including an orbital London railway and long term projects such as a new east-west rail link and east Thames road and rail crossings.

Bus
10 million for a new urban bus challenge fund
Mr Prescott said he expected local transport providers to use the new resources wisely, and ensure that better public transport was delivered "on budget and on time".

He said the plans were "no frills, no promises of a rosy, traffic-free future.

"Just our best judgements based on detailed analysis of what the new resources will deliver."

Tory transport spokesman Bernard Jenkin rejected the plans as "broken policy on the back of broken promises"

He said the government would tax petrol users to the tune of 423 billion in the next decade, leaving only the rich and "ministers in their Jaguars" able to use roads.

But Mr Prescott said: "I have tried to introduce long term planning.

"This is the first step to get a substantial amount of resources. I am proud to bring this investment to the public and let them make the judgement of what is fantasy," he added.

Liberal Democrat Don Foster welcomed the plans, but asked Mr Prescott to acknowledge that the transport infrastructure had faced a real terms cut in funding since the general election, to the "anger and frustration of many."

But Mr Prescott echoed Gordon Brown's argument that public finances had to be put in order before substantial investment could be made.

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See also:

20 Jul 00 | UK Politics
Transport 2010 at a glance
20 Jul 00 | UK Politics
Mixed response to transport plans
21 Jul 00 | UK Politics
Livingstone denounces Treasury 'doo-doo'
20 Jul 00 | Talking Point
Can we spend our way out of gridlock?
11 Jul 00 | UK Politics
'No motorway tolls for a decade'
13 Jul 00 | UK
More trains running late
18 Jul 00 | CSR
The CSR at a glance
19 Jul 00 | UK
Transport - the way ahead?
20 Jul 00 | Business
Taking the green route
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