Tuesday, 18 December 2012

AI calls for more road spending

Just as a turkey might sponsor a campaign calling for a rethink on how we celebrate Christmas, Aggregate Industries is sponsoring a CBI report calling on government to support greater private investment in the road network. Lobbying like this should surprise no-one, but the tab for increased road investment, and the aggregate it requires, would have to be picked up by somebody, and if not directly by the state then in higher charges for road users. The CBI is proposing a similar model to that used in the water and rail industries, but is privatisation, profits and road tolling really the answer? We know where water charges and rail fares have gone.

AI's chief executive officer, Alain Bourguignon, writes in the report's foreword "By transferring the management and maintenance of essential road infrastructure to long-term investment vehicles, we could see far better planning, procurement and design of the assets, leading to far better outcomes for all stakeholders." And far better business for AI of course. It's a "no-brainer" according to AI's blog - just not for the communities next to any one of its asphalt, concrete or quarry operations.