M4 has suffered from under investment too long — Welsh Affairs Committee
PROBLEMS with the M4 are continuing to risk damage to the Welsh economy, a report says today.
The Welsh Affairs Committee has made a series of recommendations to help fight the problems.
While welcoming some investment, the committee, which is made up of 12 MPs from Wales, says the M4 — a key strategic road for Wales and the UK, and essential for the Welsh economy — has suffered from under-investment and congestion for too long.
The report said: “The UK and Welsh Governments must work together to find attainable, funded solutions to these problems.
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“The committee also says the high toll on the Severn Crossing is still hampering the development of businesses in Wales and deterring inward investment to Wales and the UK Government should bring forward proposals for reducing it.”
Welcome investments in Welsh infrastructure included in the report were cross-border rail links, however, members said they were concerned about the plans for the high speed HS2 lines in England.
The report added: “The exclusion of South Wales from the HS2 proposals means businesses and people may relocate eastwards across the border.
“The development of a high- speed rail link from Wales to England would be an important boost to the Welsh economy and help to achieve the aim of successive Governments of rebalancing the UK economy: the committee says the UK and Welsh governments should begin developing plans for such a link as part of the wider high speed rail network.”
Geraint Davies, Swansea West MP, said a call had been made to the UK Government to evaluate the cost of lowering the M4 tolls.
The committee wants to know how much would be recovered from the jobs it could help create, which would generate income tax and decrease benefits claimants.
He added: “HS2 is costing the UK £32billion to link the north and south of England. Wales’s fair share of that is £1.9 million.
“That money should be used to ensure we have a high speed link to Wales at the same time.
“It could be invested in the M4 at Port Talbot and Newport: this is urgently needed to bring a step changes to growth in Wales.”
Nia Griffith, Llanelli MP, added that good transport links were key to the prosperity of South Wales.
She added: “With the M4 we have the historic legacy that has left us too few lanes in some parts and the consequential congestion, so we need input from the UK government to help strengthen this important cross border link.”