Scott Wilson outlines a new vision for transport [Time to bring our roads into the market economy, Friday]. I congratulate him on opening up the debate. However, he is effectively proposing a long term solution; in the current economic climate, acceptance by government of the need for a redistribution of large annual surpluses from road taxes is unlikely to be confirmed any time soon. I suggest that a more credible approach to the lack of capital for network improvements and precursor to “striking a new deal” will be to focus attention in the short term on harnessing additional sources of funds for transport investment – not restricted to road components – and examining the efficacy of innovative financial products for infrastructure renewal or expansion programmes.
Ideally, the structuring of these new investment programmes would enable pilots of new commercial arrangements to be carried out for possible future implementation.
For this (or any similar proposal) to succeed, someone in a position to influence decision-makers needs to champion the cause in order to drive the process forward.
Rob Burton, independent transport consultant