Yesterday I hosted an A14 funding summit. The summit gave widespread support to the principle of a local funding package to help fund improvements to the A14 which is strangling the economy in the eastern region.
We brought together representatives from Councils and Local Enterprise Partnerships affected by the whole route to discuss the issue.
Congestion and accidents along the length of the A14, which is an important European link road, harms the economy of the eastern region and is a barrier for business locating in the area.
Improving the road would not only boost the local and regional economy but would help the UK out of recession and allow housing and business growth along its length.
The meeting heard from representatives from the Department for Transport and Treasury how Government saw the improvements to the A14 as a priority. But members heard that the scheme could only go ahead if local authorities and organisations came together to help part fund it.
Members at the meeting also agreed that this way of working together could also help bring forward other vital road and transport schemes such as the A47.
Details will now be worked up and further negotiations and meetings will be held with the attendees with the hope of an offer being made to Government in the summer.
I want to thank everyone who attended this summit which produced a productive and constructive debate. There was widespread support for the principle of a funding package to look at improving the whole route, especially pinch points, such as Cambridgeshire. We now have to work with colleagues on the details of how this may work and the benefits we would all share in.
There were two very clear messages from Government. We have made our case that improving the A14 is vital for the local and UK economy but this will only be delivered if some funding is raised by authorities and partners to help pay for it. The meeting has also helped us look at supporting each other in other transport schemes across the region, such as the A47. I look forward to working with colleagues in the future on helping deliver the A14 which will reduce accidents as well as boosting the economy and jobs.
It is envisioned the majority of the improvements would be funded by Government with the bulk of the rest coming from some form of tolling and a local contribution.