£2bn infrastructure initiative announced to help speed economic recovery from COVID-19

Author
Ian Mean
Director of Business West Gloucestershire | Business West
15th May 2020

After announcing a new housebuilding programme on Wednesday, yesterday evening government added a coronavirus infrastructure initiative worth nearly £2 billion.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps promised smoother, safer roads with big investment to repair millions of potholes.

He told the government’s daily evening press briefing:

“By filling millions of dangerous potholes, we can make our roads safer and encourage more people to cycle or take part in the upcoming e-scooter trials.

“This investment will help fix damage caused by the winter flooding, repair

roads and bridges and fund numerous road improvement schemes.

“To make sure that Britain is ready to bounce back after coronavirus, I can announce nearly £2 billion to upgrade our roads and our railways - to put our transport infrastructure in the best possible shape and to get our economy growing again.”

The work figures so far on this infrastructure programme are impressive.

He said that Highways England had altogether delivered over £200 million on road upgrades and Network Rail £500 million in projects during April alone.

In addition to the road and rail projects, the minister also said there would be a major expansion of rapid electric charging on the motorway network.

During this crisis, Grant Shapps said that we had managed to do things in weeks which previously would have taken years.

Government wanted to maintain that sort of momentum on our infrastructure.

Why should a new road take 20 years?, he asked.

Quite right. Why?

Here in Gloucestershire, the work on the A417 just outside Gloucester will have taken nearly 20 years before shovels finally hit the ground in the next twelve months.

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