Civil engineering contractors today said that for the UK to build a successful 21st century rail network the industry must move beyond traditional cycles of funding.
Responding to the Rail and Urban Transport Review, which is being undertaken on behalf of the UK Labour Party by former Siemens UK CEO Juergen Maier CBE, the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) said that the key challenge to the delivery of rail infrastructure in the UK is a dearth of sustainable funding, caused by a lack of consistent political support across sufficiently long-term windows of investment.
Commenting, CECA UK Rail Director Hannah Rock said: “A UK rail network that delivers in terms of successful infrastructure delivery and achieving a net zero economy will only be achievable if a long-term strategy is established, agreed upon, and stuck to by all political parties.
“It is clear that currently our transport planning system is not fulfilling its potential and is allowing the long-term benefits of rail infrastructure to fall by the wayside of short-termist political expediencies – as we have seen most recently with HS2.
“The certainty of policy and funding required by the UK’s rail network requires a long-term strategy that cannot be delivered within electoral cycles.
“That’s why CECA is calling for a strengthened National Infrastructure Commission, alongside the publication of a high-level English Transport Strategy that integrates with the devolved nations, to deliver a sustainable long-term future for our transport networks.
“We believe political parties of all stripes across the UK must come together to recognise that Britain’s rail system is a national asset that must be revitalised to meet the needs of business and communities in the 21st century.
“As a nation, we must be willing to adopt radically new funding models, to ensure rail’s status as the backbone of our economy remains fit-for-purpose, and that investment in this key strategic sector unlocks growth, drives connectivity, and delivers value-for-money to taxpayers and rail users across the UK.”
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