George Osborne has told ITV News that there will be no tolls on any new M4 relief road around Newport.
But on a visit to Cardiff, the Chancellor said he hope to give the go ahead to a scheme that would improve the road within a couple of months.
It follows newspaper reports earlier this week that claimed money raised from tolls would be used to repay a loan backed by the UK Government.
The Welsh Government rejected that using tolls would be an option, and now the Chancellor has also ruled it out as an option.
They are misreports in the newspapers and I can tell you I have never seen nor considered a proposal to toll the M4. I have certainly seen plans to try and improve the M4 and that is what I want to do and I'm working with the Welsh Government to sort out the money for that but it is clearly an important road scheme and I am hoping in the next couple of months to be able to give the go ahead to that.
If built, an M4 relief road is likely to run around the south of Newport avoiding the particularly busy stretch that include the Brynglas Tunnels. It is likely to alleviate congestion between junctions 23 and 29.
There have been previous plans to build a relief road around Newport, but this latest plan was scrapped in 2009, after the then Transport Minister claimed the only way to fund it would be to toll both a new road and the current M4.
In March 2012 the Welsh Government launched a consultation on plans that could ease congestion on the M4 around Newport.
Speaking at the time, Transport Minister Carl Sargeant said the plans would aim to "improve efficiency and productivity and in turn make us more competitive."
The plans included improvements to public transport as well as road improvements including:
- M4 Relief Road south of Newport over the Gwent Levels
- Improve A48 Southern Distribution road
- Widening of M4, adding additional tunnel at Brynglas
The consultation ended in July 2012.