It was my pleasure, today, to chair a conference to discuss improving the A14 involving some of the most influential organisations in the County and beyond.,
We called the meeting which included representatives from small and big business, local councils and freight organisations.
The meeting discussed the congestion hit stretch of the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon as well as the broader issues affecting the whole of the route.
There was much agreement around the room that this is a big problem that requires big solutions. It was agreed that improvements to the A14 are vital for the local and national economies. But also improvements for freight to be carried by rail and enhanced public transport should form part of a package.
This is not just a Cambridgeshire problem or even national but European as well. That the short term improvements offered by the Government are very welcome but long term solutions needed also to be delivered as soon as possible.
It was agreed there should be a four leg approach to funding. This should be local, national Government and European funding if possible as well as from private sources. The route is an important trade route from Felixstowe and as such we join with Northamptonshire in approaching the European Union for funding.
There was also agreement that tolling was likely to be necessary and that shadow tolling would not be appropriate. Tolling would not pay for the whole of the scheme but off-set some of the cost.
There was also support for a unified approach along the whole route with our neighbours in Suffolk and Northamptonshire.
We have been working very closely with the Department for Transport and are very pleased the Government have made commitments for the short and long term improvements of this vital route. We will continue to work with Government to make sure this is delivered. A clogged A14 remains a block to business and hampers the growth of Cambridgeshire’s and the national economy.
It was pleasing to see the energy in the room.