Friday, 18 June 2010

More PFI-funded roads isn't the answer - not in Sheffield nor anywhere

Very depressing to hear the (Lib Dem) Leader of Sheffield Council on BBC Radio Four's The World At One today saying that his priority was to make sure that Private Finance Initiative (PFI) money was available for building more roads around his city despite the government cuts. More roads? Is that really what he thinks Sheffield and the UK needs - more roads?

As far as I'm aware every study of road building capacity has shown that building more roads simply leads to the traffic increasing by more than the new available road capacity. And what's the point of building more roads if in five years time nobody will be able to afford the petrol to run their cars. He, and Sheffield, would do much better to put their money into car sharing, car clubs, buses and other forms of public transport.

As for PFI - that was Gordon Brown's way of taking investment off the books to create the illusion that government borrowing was lower than it was. In the long run it costs public authorities more.

PFI, roads - these are old "solutions" for another age and I'm shocked that a Lib Dem council leader should be supporting them.

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