1. ITV Report

BREAKING: Region's road improvements announced

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander making a statement to the House of Commons Photo: PA

The Government has announced the "biggest investment in our roads in 40 years" and reaffirmed its commitment to the largest programme of rail investment "since the Victorian era".

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander promised billions to repair potholed roads as well as signalling the green light for various road improvements.

He also set a clear budget of £16 billion for the next parliament for the high-speed HS2 project whose cost has risen around £9 billion to £42.6 billion, with £7.5 billion for trains.

Mr Alexander said the Government would be investing more than £28 billion over the six years from 2014 in enhancements and maintenance of national and local roads.

A total of £10 billion will go towards repairs between 2015/16 and 2020/21. More than £4 billion of that money will be spent on national road maintenance - enough to resurface over 21, 000 miles of road.

The other £6 billion will be spent at a local level, allowing local authorities to fill the equivalent of 19 million potholes a year.

Mr Alexander said that the Government would transform the Highways Agency, the body responsible for England's motorway and major trunk road network, "into a publicly-owned corporation".

Among others, Mr Alexander announced improvement plans for the A21 Tonbridge to Pembury in Kent and junctions on the M4, the M23 Gatwick junctions and the A27 Chichester bypass in Sussex.

Mr Alexander said: "Where our predecessors left our road network on the hard shoulder, we are bringing it into the fast lane."

On rail, Mr Alexander said that HS2 was the "longest and largest transport budget the Treasury has ever set aside and the people running the project will have to deliver within it".

He said the Government was supporting more than £30 billion of investment in rail, with 850 miles of railway being electrified.

Other plans include opening a new line from Bedford to Oxford.

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