Yesterday’s Budget included several transport-related announcements, which according to the Department for Transport, show support for investment in regional transport as a means of boosting UK productivity and economic growth.
The DfT summarised the transport-related announcements:
• The biggest ever increase in funding for the road network, with £28.8bn of Vehicle Excise Duty raised in England being hypothecated for spending on roads for the five-year period from 2020-2025. £25.3bn is for major road projects, representing a 40% increase in Highways England’s budget.
• £420m will be given to councils to undertake road maintenance on local roads before the end of the financial year. A further £150m is provided to improve local road junctions.
• The Transforming Cities Fund will be expanded with an additional £680m for investing in sustainable transport such as new tram, bus and cycling routes. This funding will be split between mayoral authorities, the recently shortlisted cities, as well as two new cities.
• An additional £70m was announced to create future mobility zones in three city regions where new technology such as Mobility as a Service can be tested. This comes on top of £20m allocated for the West Midlands, which was announced earlier this month at Conservative Party conference.
• The Chancellor also set out continuing support for strategic infrastructure projects, including £20m of new development funding for East-West Rail. This comes alongside a further £37m allocated to Northern Powerhouse rail for development funding.
• On transport taxation, the Chancellor confirmed the Government will maintain the difference between alternative and main road fuel duty rates until 2032 and will freeze the Heavy Goods Vehicle Excise Duty for 2019-20. Short-haul Air Passenger Duty rates for 2020-21 will also be frozen.
• Finally, the Chancellor confirmed that the new 26-30 railcard (announced over the weekend and funded by industry) will be rolled out nationally before the end of the year following a successful trial.