RAB ‘critical’ for roads

8 October 2012 Business lobby group the CBI has called on the government to develop a regulated asset base (RAB) model for the strategic road network.
Its latest report, in conjunction with Aggregate Industries, highlighted the current problems in the road network and warned that the Highways Agency faces a £10bn shortfall in funding for projects unless there is a sea-change in the way roads are managed.

“The road network is the last piece of major infrastructure that is pretty much fully funded by government,” said CBI director-general John Cridland. “It is not sufficient in the long-term to go on procuring road infrastructure in the way we do now.”

He suggested a RAB model could help bring in private sector investment, although he stressed that he only expects tolling to be used in isolated cases to increase capacity.

The report suggested an independent regulator should take the place of the Highways Agency, which would then provide licences to private companies to operate and maintain sections of the road network. The licences would be based around regions of the country, rather than for individual routes.

Cridland explained that some vehicle excise duty cash would be ring-fenced to be used by the regulator, which along with the licensed companies would be able to improve the network by using the cash more efficiently than is currently the case.

“Over time, the private sector would be able to access further investment to put into upgrades,” continued Cridland. “A certain amount of road tolling in the long-term is probably where we will end up.”

This page was last updated on:
24 November 2014.

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