Wednesday 26th Jul 2017 - RUC Magazine

ICE cold call for road tolls In Scotland

News

Ministers should consider using tolls to get Scotland’s crumbling roads up to scratch.

That’s the opinion of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), as it highlighted ‘serious question marks’ over the transport network and energy infrastructure in the country in the State of the Nation, Infrastructure 2015 report.

The Institution of Civil Engineers calls for road tolls to repair and maintain Scotland's road network

The Institution of Civil Engineers calls for road tolls to repair and maintain Scotland’s road network

Audit Scotland has previously estimated that the bill for bringing more than 12,000 miles of roads up to scratch is £2.25bn. ICE said it already cost almost £250m per year just to avoid further deterioration.

But the only way to fund improvements to Scotland’s infrastructure is though taxation or charging motorists, according to the report.

It said: “We recommend a progressive system of road-user charging be considered where appropriate, to help meet the financial demands of constructing and maintaining good-quality roads infrastructure.”

Ronnie Hunter, chairman of the group that wrote the report, said: “Although there is some good news, such as in the areas of waste and strategic transport, there are serious question marks over the resilience of our energy and local transport infrastructure.

“To address these particular concerns, we have called for a mature and rational debate on how we generate energy, and we are also calling for the Scottish Government to work with local authorities to address the £2billion maintenance backlog in local roads.”

The Scottish Government stated it had no intention of introducing road tolls “now or at any time in the future”.

A spokeswoman added: “The report provides a helpful contribution to the wider debate about the role of infrastructure investment, both in terms of the thoughtful evidence and the advice that it provides.”