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Mayor’s Muddled Thinking Puts Transport at Risk

 

Dawn Primarolo has warned Bristol Mayor George Ferguson that his tinkering over Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) threatens killing off transport funding for a generation.


The Mayor announced via a tweet that he was abandoning part of the BRT route that would have taken vehicles behind MShed and over Prince Street Bridge.  He has not offered an alternative route which would serve the City Centre.  The Council has not, as of January 10, released a statement detailing the Mayor’s intentions.


Commenting, Dawn said:


“Throughout the election, the Mayor indicated that he would stop BRT, and seek to use the funding for alternative transport proposals.  Two Transport Secretaries have confirmed to me that this would not be possible.  However, I would have had some respect for the Mayor if he had done as he had previously suggested, and fought Bristol’s corner.  


Instead, he has announced, unilaterally on Twitter, that he will make a significant alteration to the route.  BRT has been drawn up painstakingly over six years – to make changes like this now will see years more delay while congestion worsens.  


To make these changes while we are still awaiting the outcome of the Public Inquiry is rash, premature and ill-judged.  I have asked to see the advice the Mayor was given, to see whether he took a considered decision, or if he is simply acting on a whim.


During the Mayoral Election, the ‘Bristol Disease’ of delay and indecision was frequently discussed, and many Bristolians thought that Mr Ferguson’s business experience could get things moving.  The reality is that his announcement puts the whole package of Government funding in doubt.  Worse than that, it risks damaging Bristol’s reputation in Whitehall for a generation.


I wish that the Mayor had been more considered in his comments.  However, we are where we are.  It is now imperative for him to find an alternative route quickly and cost effectively, so that we can finally getting on with making the transport improvements Bristol needs, rather than just talking about them.”

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