The Welsh government has revealed plans to invest billions of pounds in transport infrastructure upgrades over the next five years
Infrastructure in Wales is set to receive a multi-million pound investment that will span the next half a decade. The announcement was made by Economy and Infrastructure Secretary Ken Skates during a visit to Cardiff Airport.
The minister laid out his vision for a modern and integrated transport network. This includes improvements to major road infrastructure across the country. Plans comprise of upgrading the M4, A55, A40, and the A494. Furthermore, Skates highlighted plans to develop a North Wales Metro, a new rail franchise, and a port development fund. He also said there were plans to develop a third Menai crossing and create a more sustainable bus service.
He said: “Our historic, multi billion pound investment shows how serious this Welsh government is about delivering a world class transport system in Wales – one that sustainably connects people and communities to jobs and services and drives our economy forward.
“Our network holds the key to delivering a prosperous Wales, to ensuring our general health and wellbeing and building cohesive communities.
“Our collective challenge must be to use this billion pound investment creatively and collaboratively to sustainably develop a world class transport system that delivers the very best results for Wales.
“I also want to establish a better informed, better designed, long-term, evidenced-based approach to the planning of our transport network and the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), which we are proposing, alongside an updated Welsh Transport Planning and Appraisal Guidance will help ensure this.”
Construction benefits from raft of infrastructure projects
The news is undoubtedly good for the construction sector, which has benefited from the surge of new infrastructure projects put forward by Westminster as well.
Skates added: “In terms of major road improvements, I am publishing full technical, economic and environmental report on my review of the M4 scheme and can announce that the public inquiry into the M4 will take place on 28 February 2017, with a pre-inquiry meeting held on 27 January.
“On congestion solutions for the A494 and A55, the consultation will take place in March 2017. This will look two proposals for the Deeside Corridor project, either of which will require investment upwards of £200m – the largest Welsh Government investment on these roads since they were first built.
“This whole agenda brings with it undoubted challenges but it also presents fantastic opportunities to for a bigger, better, multimodal and integrated network that meet the needs of people right across Wales.”
Skates is also calling for greater devolved powers over transport, including the funding used for rail infrastructure.