Page last updated at 05:42 GMT, Tuesday, 14 October 2008 06:42 UK

Poor transport 'threatens growth'

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Poor transport funding is damaging the Welsh economy, says a report

An underfunded transport network is threatening Wales' ability to sustain economic growth, a report says.

The Institution of Civil Engineers Wales (ICE) report said the transport network was deteriorating and more money would have to be found.

Keith Jones, the director of ICE Wales, said the current levels of transport investment were "inadequate to meet the needs of modern Wales".

The assembly government said this year's transport budget was 570m.

But the report, The State of the Nation: Transport, said greater investment would give more travel options to people in Wales, reducing journeys taken by car.

'Real choice'

It said there was a strong link between Wales' transport network and economic growth and "significant ongoing funding" was needed to stop Wales losing out to to other parts of the UK and the world.

Mr Jones said: "Getting people out of their private cars in Wales' urban areas will only be achieved once government takes steps to provide integrated, accessible and reliable public transport services that offer communities real choice.

"We want to see a growth in the number of journeys to work made by bus, up to 10% over the next few years from the current 4%.

The number of car journeys we make is growing, and growing faster in Wales than in the rest of the UK
Lee Waters, Sustainable Transport Cymru

"For longer journeys, upgrades to Wales' north-south railway links will take passengers and freight off our limited number of highways. More resources must be freed by government to keep Wales moving."

Although the report welcomed improvements to north-south train services, the report said more money was needed to allow rail capacity to meet rising demand.

While east-west road links were described as good, it said north-south links remained poor.

A 30m investment over two years for road maintenance was praised, but the report said it was only a first step.

Lee Waters, co-ordinator for Sustainable Transport Cymru, an alliance of public, private and voluntary organisations, said it wanted money shifted away from road schemes.

"It's time to take a new direction. Transport is already responsible for a quarter of all our carbon emissions. The number of car journeys we make is growing, and growing faster in Wales than in the rest of the UK," he said.

Transport investment

A spokesperson for the assembly government said it welcomed the recognition of its "substantial investment" to improve public transport across Wales.

Earlier this month it announced an extra 15m to be allocated for improving public transport in the 2009-10 draft budget.

"Total transport investment in Wales this year alone stands at over 570m, and includes 76m to deliver improvements across the trunk road network and more than 100m for local authorities to improve the local road network across Wales.

"We are also committed to improving the road network and have committed over 90m to deliver a programme of improvements on trunk roads for 2009/10 and a further 100m to support local authorities in improving the local road network," it said.




SEE ALSO
North-south air link's birthday
09 May 08 |  North West Wales
New bus links with south Wales
17 Aug 05 |  Mid Wales

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