Secretary of State for Transport on Wales visit to highlight transportation commitments
The Secretary of State for Transport today visited South Wales to highlight Conservative Party action on transport issues in Wales.
Patrick McLoughlin MP and Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns MP, will join members of the Welsh Conservatives to launch an Advan to celebrate the Chancellor’s budget announcement – made in March – that toll charges on the Severn crossings will be halved by 2018.
The current £6.60 toll for cars is now expected to fall to around £3.30, subject to inflation.
The visit comes in the wake of the Welsh Conservatives’ manifesto launch on Monday, which set out a series of manifesto commitments to reprioritise transport spending in Wales to deliver a long-term strategy for roads, rail and public transport networks.
A reprioritisation of funding in this way would serve to boost the economy, tackle rural isolation and connect people to employment opportunities.
The manifesto also details a commitment to support the removal of toll plazas on the Severn bridge crossings, allowing drivers to come into Wales without delays, as well as a pledge to work with the UK Government to improve cross-border connectivity.
Patrick McLoughlin MP, Secretary of State for Transport, said:
"Welsh Conservatives played a central role in championing the need for action on the Severn Bridge tolls. This is a clear example of Conservatives working together either side of the M4 to deliver for Wales.
"With Andrew RT Davies and the Welsh Conservatives, real change can be secured for the Welsh economy. Halving the tolls will help deliver that change, stimulating growth and highlighting how Wales is open for business.
"We will continue to work closely with Welsh Conservatives on the long-term future of the Bridges, and tackling congestion at toll plaza."
Matthew Evans, Newport West candidate for the Welsh Conservatives, said:
"Across Newport, the Severn Bridge tolls is one of the issues I hear about most from frustrated motorists.
"Halving the tolls is an historic move from the Conservative Government, which offers the city of Newport – and neighbouring communities – superb opportunities for economic development.
"Conservatives continue to deliver for Wales, and a Welsh Conservative Government, working with the UK Government, can ensure a better deal for Wales."
Welsh Conservative candidate for Monmouth, Nick Ramsay, added:
"Having long campaigned for a reduction of the Severn Bridge tolls, the recent announcement of them being halved is a clear example of the Conservatives securing real change for Wales.
"The tolls have acted as a barrier to economic growth and investment into the south east of Wales, and this Conservative-driven action is fantastic news for commuters, hauliers, businesses and local communities, including the people of Monmouth.
"The next Welsh Government must build on this commitment, and by abolishing rates for small businesses, improving infrastructure and reforming access to finance, Welsh Conservatives will bring an end to 17 years of Labour failure and utilise devolved levers to deliver economic prosperity for Wales."
A Welsh Conservative government will:
– Deliver integrated transport Create a new arm’s-length body to deliver an integrated transport system and ensure a consistent, Wales-wide approach to improving infrastructure.
– Assess and re-prioritise Wales’ National Transport Plan, implementing a new, long-term strategy for our road, rail and public transport networks.
– Back a new smart card travel scheme, for use on different modes of public transport throughout Wales.
– Consult on increasing the speed limit to 80mph on the M4 and A55, to get Wales moving.
– Progress the Cardiff Bay link road as part of the Cardiff City Deal, in conjunction with plans for the South Wales Metro.
– Start work on an M4 Relief Road within 12 months of forming a government.
– Develop plans to secure funding for dualling the A40 to Fishguard.
– Improve traffic flow on the A55, ensuring better connectivity across North Wales.
– Add a Dinas Powys bypass into the National Transport Plan. Conduct an updated safety review on the A44.
– Commission a study into the impact of removing tolls on the Cleddau Bridge.
– Bring forward plans to construct a third Menai crossing, which would alleviate traffic congestion to and from Ynys Môn.
– Work with the UK Government to deliver electrification of the South Wales Main Line and Valley Lines as soon as possible and back electrification of the North Wales Line.
– Ensure a competitive, fair tender for the post-2018 Wales & Borders rail franchise that delivers modern rolling stock, better integrated connectivity and year-on-year capacity growth.
– Offer open access bids from non-franchise holders on the main North and South Wales rail lines.
– Commission a feasibility study on extending the South Wales Metro further west.
– Work with the UK Government to deliver new rail links to the North West of England, including improved access to Manchester and Liverpool Airports.
– AIR Upgrade the terminal and secure private investment in Cardiff Airport.
– Work with Cardiff Airport to attract more routes.
– Work with the UK Government to deliver the rail spur to Heathrow Airport, improving journey times to the UK’s busiest airport.
– Review the effectiveness to the Welsh economy of subsidising the Cardiff to Anglesey air link.
– Restore funding denied to the Bus Services Support Grant, expanding public transport routes, increasing connectivity and tackling rural isolation.
– Protect free bus passes and explore the viability of extending this provision to community transport.