Roads congestion was a key transport target in this Budget with the launch of a £690 million competition for local authorities to tackle urban congestion and “get local transport networks moving.” £490 million will be made available in early autumn.
Further joining up transport and technology the Government announced a new Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) to support collaborations between business and UK science. An initial investment of £270 million will include “leading the world in the development, design and manufacture of batteries that will power the next generation of electric vehicles, helping to tackle air pollution.”
Frustratingly, from 1 April Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) rates for cars, vans and motorcycles registered before April 2017 will increase by Retail Prices Index (RPI). Commercial HGV VED and Road User Levy rates will be frozen from 1 April 2017.
But if you think the Budget is a bit light on the big-picture issues you would be right. Crossrail 2 and High Speed 3 were not mentioned at all. £90 million for the North and £23 million for the Midlands to address roads issues are also fairly small fry. Overall stakeholders were underwhelmed by the announcements, with the RAC and Campaign for Better Transport both describing it as a “missed opportunity”.