It’s not just the budget that has got opinion divided but the government’s announcement earlier this week about private business funding UK roads has certainly got people talking. Not only those of us in the industry but members of the general public have felt compelled to share their thoughts both for and against which I have listened to and read with real interest.
Is this just PFI 2.0 or privatisation and will it work asked Polly Curtis, The Guardian’s Whitehall correspondent in her daily blog Reality Checkto which she received a mixed, but huge bag of comments.
Well I for one can see exactly where the government is coming from in looking to the private sector to meet the huge repair and maintenance costs associated with the upkeep of Britain’s ailing road network.
Call it PFI 2.0 or whatever new title that is deemed appropriate but the availability of our road networks will keep our economies moving and the private sector has been involved in our road infrastructure under various PFI initiatives for some time so this is really nothing new.
The potential introduction of tolls on new lanes or new motorways funded by private firms is however a new idea and one which was always bound to split opinion but if the government can introduce measures that bring benefits to all parties then maybe they should be applauded.
With the government intent on reducing the deficit and reluctant to borrow further, the private sector is well placed to plug the huge funding gap which exists to help bring the UK road network into line with some of our more sophisticated European neighbours.
However to gain public support for such initiatives the government and private businesses will need to adopt a more transparent approach so that the public can see how and why money is being spent.
Life cycle cost analysis will be instrumental if the government is to go ahead with its plans. Companies charged with maintaining and improving our road networks will need an accurate picture of the cost liabilities involved over the whole lifetime of the roads in order to submit realistic tenders that will win the backing of both government departments and the ever more vocal British public and demonstrate the ROI that they can deliver on such visible public infrastructure projects.
Great news for the team here at kykloud -we have the software in place to do just that.