Welsh Shadow Minister for Minister for Economy, Business, and Infrastructure Russel George MS has criticised the report into plans to tackle congestion on the M4 which he says do not put sufficient emphasis on the need for a relief road.
Mr George said, “Let’s be clear: Welsh Conservatives are firm believers in tackling the problem of congestion on the M4 into and out of South Wales though a variety of means, and as the party that believes fundamentally in the ‘greening’ of industry and transport, we see much to recommend in the report – if measures are introduced alongside the much-needed M4 relief road.
“Just last week, Prime Minister Johnson outlined his 10-point plan for a ‘Green Industrial Revolution’, and Welsh Conservatives are firmly behind this multi-layered approach, which of course includes transport.”
He added, “The emphasis in the report on rail transport is laudable, but since Transport for Wales, which is a company owned by the Welsh Labour-led Government took responsibility for rail services, we have seen issue after issue, and a poorer service for rail commuters. it’s a clear case of putting the cart before the horse, because we do not yet have a rail service fit for the 21st century.”
Mr George concluded, “Another major concern is the fudging of costs. One of few mentions of money is about a “Workplace Parking Levy’.
“Of course, ‘levy’ is just another word for ‘tax’ and the hint is made that that each employee in businesses in Cardiff and Newport could be taxed £434 a year just to park at their place of work.
“This, it’s claimed could realise some £10m revenue annually. At that rate, it will take only 15 years to claw back the money the government here wasted on the £157m M4 Relief Road inquiry. “
This year, Coronavirus has thrown much into confusion. Businesses and their employees don’t want confusion, but clarity and certainty.
“We’re certain, as are businesspeople and commuters, that an M4 relief road must be at the heart of any multi-stream plan to create a transport system fit not just for the rest of this decade, but long into the future.”
The South East Wales Transport Commission under Lord Burns said coping with the M4 issues would cost up to £800M and required a massive boost to train services, stations and co-ordinated bus services, workplace parking taxes in Newport and Cardiff, and better cycling provision in Newport and a link to Cardiff.
After Wales FM Mark Drakeford scrapped the public inquiry recommended £1.6B 14 miles relief road over the Gwent Levels and set up the commission study excluding the relief road, the UK Government said it might bypass the Welsh lawmakers and build the road in any event.