Cautious welcome for Pothole Fund money

 

Liverpool City Council has welcomed £600,000 of funding from the Government’s Pothole Fund – but cautioned that it is only a small proportion of the amount need to fix the highways backlog.

It represents less than 0.25 percent of the £256 million needed to bring the roads up to standard, caused by decades of underinvestment due to a lack of Central Government funding.

Earlier this year, the council announced an £80 million investment programme over the next eight years in an effort to deal with the issue. It is being funded through a mix of borrowing, the sale of assets and identifying other private and public sector funding. The £600,000 from the Pothole Fund will be added to the scheme.

Councillor Malcolm Kennedy, Cabinet member for highways, said: “Any extra money is clearly welcome but people need to understand that this is small change compared to what needs to be spent. Drivers in Liverpool pay the
Government tens of millions of pounds in road tax but the city only gets a tiny proportion of it back.

“This is an issue that we know motorists and other road users feel strongly about, which is why we have taken action ourselves and committed to a significant investment programme to improve the poorest sections of the
highway network, particularly the strategic gateways into Liverpool and key links within the city.
“We are already identifying those routes which carry huge volumes of traffic, which are of the most strategic importance to the city, and which are in poor condition. We will then deliver a programme which not only
improves those roads, but which ensures they remain in good condition for many years to come.”

The £80 million investment is in addition to the £3.5m the council receives annually from central government for highways maintenance including carriageways, footways, street lighting, and highway structures. This
annual funding will now be directed towards the on-going maintenance of roads not included in the £80m investment programme, such as B and C roads and those which are unclassified.