TRL gives qualified backing to roads spending changes | Smart Highways Magazine: Industry News

TRL gives qualified backing to roads spending changes

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The Chief Executive of TRL, Rob Wallis, has issued a statement giving his organisation’s response to the Government’s changes to the vehicle excise duty system, in which the money raised will be spent on the transport system.

“TRL welcomes the fact that all proceeds from the new vehicle excise duty (VED) system will be reinvested into building and maintaining our road infrastructure”, he writes.  “For too long, the road network (in particular our local roads) has been maintained under very tight budget constraints and often on a reactive rather than planned basis.  This is neither the most efficient or cost-effective way of looking after a valuable societal and economic asset and doesn’t provide tax payers with good value for money.

“Although there is currently little detail available about how the fund will be administered, the investment of ring-fenced funds for the development of UK roads in planned maintenance schemes will deliver better value and reduce the occurrence of costly defects, some of which can create safety concerns too.  It is also hoped this fund will be used to improve the road experience for other travellers, such as cyclists and pedestrians. Only by considering all modes of transport and related mobility can we build a sustainable infrastructure that supports not just current, but future needs for how goods and people will make their journeys.

“However, while the additional funding for the UK road network is strongly welcomed, the decision to change the tax banding in this way may have some detrimental consequences. While an overhaul of the system was necessary given the falling revenues, the new tax banding seems to only demonstrate clear support for purely electric vehicles, without also penalising higher-polluting vehicles. This suggests that plug-in hybrids are no better than standard diesel or petrol vehicles, when clearly there are still major emission benefits. In addition, some of the most environmentally friendly and premium Ultra Low Emissions Vehicles (ULEVs) will be subjected to the highest VED tax, which could discourage some consumers from making the transition to ULEVs.”

 
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