No money for major road projects, minister says

The Welsh government does not have cash for major road projects, according to a minister.

Lee Waters said it was a “fantasy to suggest there’s this pipeline of [road] schemes that can be afforded”.

Plans for a third crossing between Anglesey and the mainland, estimated to cost £400m, have been shelved, along with other major road building schemes, amid environmental concerns.

“It’s not happening any time soon,” he said. “We haven’t got the money.”

Mr Waters, the deputy climate change minister, told BBC Radio Wales’ Sunday Supplement “costs right across the board are going through the roof”.

He added: “The cash isn’t there so we have to prioritise.”

  • All major road building projects in Wales scrapped
  • Not all bus services can be funded, minister says

He said road schemes with “multi-modal corridors” including public transport could be developed rather than building roads purely to accommodate more cars.

It was announced on Tuesday that of 59 road projects, 15 will go ahead, with the rest rejected or revised.

Plans for a third Menai crossing have been replaced by a review into how to improve congestion and the resilience of the current bridges as well as getting people to use other ways to travel.

And the controversial Red Route in Flintshire will not go ahead as planned.

Instead, improvements will be made to the A494 at Aston Hill in Deeside.

“We will never be able to shift the resources to create a quality public transport system when we keep feeding a pipeline of ongoing, really expensive carbon intensive road projects,” said Mr Waters.

But former Labour transport minister Ken Skates has said there should never be another review that “ignores citizens” and criticised his party’s plans.

Mr Water later told BBC Politics Wales that he had hoped to introduce a £1 flat rate for bus fares, costing the Welsh government £90m, but that was no longer possible “in the short term”.

Mr Waters also said financial support for the bus industry introduced since Covid could not continue but conceded that passenger numbers had not returned to pre-pandemic levels.

“We put £150m of taxpayers money to stop the bus companies from going bankrupt,” he said.

“At some point that has to be tapered away.

“Now the trouble is if the passenger levels have not returned post Covid to how they were, so many of the routes that we are keeping in place just don’t have the customers, nor do we have the money to keep doing it,” he told Sunday Supplement.

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