Deputy Prime Minister gives his backing to plans to improve the A303
A road tunnel under Stonehenge is one of nine proposals with an estimated cost of £1.2 billion being scrutinised by Whitehall officials to ease the traffic nightmare on the road connecting the South West to London.
The Government has signalled it will make an announcement during George Osborne’s autumn statement in December.
The Deputy Prime Minister said he and Lib Dem Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, will be pushing for improvements on the 110-mile “A303-A30-A358 corridor”, which starts near Exeter in Devon and finishes close to Andover in Hampshire, in negotiations with David Cameron and Mr Osborne.
He said he was “very keen” to “push forward” with the A303. Mr Clegg said: “I can’t predict to you now exactly whether we will succeed in our discussions and all the sums involved, but that is something I would like to do even in this government.
“If we can’t do that in this coalition Government I’m very clear that the fiscal rules (we advocate) about borrowing prudently for infrastructure investment once the books are balanced after 2017-18 is exactly the kind of thing that would permit us to borrow money on the Government’s books to invest in the A303.
“But I very much hope we can see diggers in the ground and this arterial route properly unblocked well before then.”
The Western Daily Press understands officials are working up a plan to upgrade the entire road in phases, with stages signed off in advance. Some fear Labour would scupper the upgrade given their lack of MPs in the South West.
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