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Britain's crumbling roads in line for repair as significant investment in transport infrastructure announced

By Scott Maclennan

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Transport minister Grant Shapps has claimed that a new record has been reached in the number of Covid-19 tests performed in the UK.

He told the daily Downing Street briefing that more than 2.2 million tests had now been carried out including a new high of 126,064 done yesterday.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps.

Mr Shapps also revealed that he was going to invest £2 billion in transport infrastructure which means a significant windfall for Scotland through Barnett consequentials.

He also reiterated some of the government’s new relaxed lockdown advice, concentrating on the new alert system in place but Mr Shapps began the briefing with the testing numbers.

He said: “The latest information from the government's Cobra data file through our monitoring and testing program as of today 2,219,281 tests for coronavirus have now been carried out in the UK, including a new record of 126,064 carried out yesterday.”

Mr Shapps went on to reveal that “by filling millions of dangerous potholes” on the roads and improving railways as well making journeys safer and more accommodating to those who wish to cycle.

He said: “I can announce nearly £2 billion pounds to upgrade our roads and our railways, to put our transport infrastructure in the best possible shape and get our economy growing once again.

“The package includes £1.7 billion pounds for local roads making journeys smoother and safer for drivers, hauliers, cyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians and others.

“By filling millions of dangerous potholes we can make our roads safer and encourage more people to cycle or even take part in the upcoming e-scooter trials helping more people leaving public pressure on public transport.

“This investment will help fix damage caused by the winter flooding, repair roads and bridges and fund numerous road improvement schemes.

“As more people become mobile again we will also be building a network of rapid charging stations for electric cars including a big expansion of rapid charging facilities at motorway service stations, helping the country to lock-in the dramatic air quality improvements we've experienced during the coronavirus lockdown.

“Amid all the sad news and the tragedy of loved ones with lost, we somehow managed to do things in weeks that would normally take years building new hospitals moving public services online making instant reforms and fast-track new laws extraordinary changes in the way the employers and employees work effectively taking swathes of the economy online almost overnight.

“We want to ensure that we can maintain this momentum and if building a new hospital takes just two weeks why should building a new road still takes as long as 20-years, if GP surgeries can move online, and why are most rail passengers still travelling on cardboard tickets?

“We must exploit our new found capacity to respond at pace and apply it to rapidly improving our infrastructure and we must examine why bureaucratic bindweed makes British infrastructure some of the costliest and slowest in Europe to build.

“Because many will continue to work from home after this crisis both the long-term transport friend and the pressing need for communities to level-up across the country dictate that infrastructure will be even more important at stimulating our recovery and securing new jobs.

“So by combining fast home internet access with vastly upgraded transport connections, we can help revive many of our small and medium sized towns which have over the decades been left behind.”

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