NORTH Yorkshire’s council leader has said he will try to find more cash to fix the region’s roads if the Govern-ment agrees to match-fund a £5 million repair programme.
Members of North Yorkshire County Council will next week debate the authority’s 2014/15 budget, including a proposal for a one-off £5 million investment in highways maintenance after rural routes were identified as a particular problem.
Coun John Weighell, who leads the council, is to write to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin asking the Government to meet or exceed this level of funding to back up the repair programme.
He is due to meet Mr McLoughlin this month, together with Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones, to discuss plans for improvements to the York-Harrogate rail line, and also hopes to raise the need for upgrading the A64.
The £5 million is intended to repair damage caused by recent severe winters and flooding, and Coun Weighell said he wanted the Government to “at least match-fund this figure”, saying: “If more funding can be provided by the Government, I will endeavour to find more funding from our reserves so that we can tackle some of the maintenance concerns with the network that I know exist.
“The main roads in the county have some issues, but are largely in a reasonable state of repair. But my particular concern is with the deterioration of our more rural roads.”
The county council plans to put £12.6 million towards Harrogate rail line improvements and is seeking Government funding so it can be electrified.
The authority, together with Ryedale and Scarborough district councils, City of York Council and the Highways Agency, has also made a £50 million bid to the Local Growth Fund which could allow parts of the A64 between York and Scarborough to be widened or dualled, with a decision expected in July.
Ryedale District Council’s policy and resources committee was last night expected to approve a “memorandum of understanding” asking all parties involved in the bid - also including the North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership and the North Yorkshire Local Transport Body – to make a formal commitment to an A64 scheme tackling safety, congestion, journey-time and accessibility issues.