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Inside the transport infrastructure pipeline

20161024_Inside the transport infrastructure pipeline

In our Fleet Insider Mid-year Review, we delved into the nation’s infrastructure pipeline: the roads, hospitals, power stations and other projects planned for the next few years. In this post, we take a deeper dive into the transport projects in that pipeline.

Transport accounts for £134 billion of the £483 billion-worth of infrastructure currently under construction or planned for the future. Using figures from the Government’s National Infrastructure Delivery Plan, published in March, the graph below shows how that £134 billion breaks down:

The High Speed 2 rail line is the nation’s biggest current infrastructure project, costing £54 billion of public money. Planning began under the Labour Government in 2009, and the Coalition pressed ahead with it. Following a consultation, the official announcement of the routes connecting London to Manchester and Leeds was made in 2012.

A 50,000-page bill giving the Government the powers it needs to build the first stage of HS2 – from London to Birmingham and the West Midlands – has been making its way through Parliament since November 2011. It is due to finally receive Royal Assent by the end of the year. Assuming it does so, phase one should be on track to open in 2026, while phase two – from the West Midlands on to Manchester and Leeds – is pencilled in to be operational by 2032.

Another £38 billion is due to be spent on other rail projects, including £28 billion by Network Rail on general maintenance, renewals and enhancements over the next five years. Upgrades to the East Coast and Great Western mainlines to accommodate a new generation of intercity trains will cost another £6 billion, while £3.7 billion will go on completing Crossrail – the future ‘Elizabeth Line’ across London.

£13 billion will be spent maintaining and improving the nation’s roads over the next five years, as part of what the Government calls ‘the greatest improvement to our road network since the 1970s.’ The biggest single-ticket item is a £1 billion upgrade of the A14 trunk road between Cambridge and Huntingdon to add capacity and relieve congestion.

Of Transport for London’s £12 billion-worth of projects in the capital, £4.2 billion are upgrades to the Tube, and another £1.2 billion will go towards station improvements. £12 billion will also be spent around the country by Local Authorities, mostly from Government grants for highway maintenance and projects to stimulate local growth.

The £5 billion of spending currently planned for airport infrastructure – including at Bristol, Edinburgh and Manchester – is likely to be dwarfed by whichever option the Government chooses to expand capacity around London. The Davies Commission estimated the cost of adding a new runway at Heathrow at £18 billion, and Gatwick at £7.1 billion. The Government has long put off taking a final decision on which to go for, but new Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has promised to ‘move rapidly with a decision’.

A look at the country’s infrastructure plans is just one component of our Mid-year Review. Other sections include details of the most recent tax changes affecting car fleets, summaries of motoring’s newest technological innovations, and an analysis of political efforts to promote greener vehicles. You can read it all here.

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