Two of the Isle of Wight’s most pressing transport issues were the focus of a visit by Transport Secretary the Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin today (Thursday).
The minister officially opened the new headquarters of Island Roads – the company that will undertake the Highways PFI programme to upgrade and maintain the Island’s notoriously pot-holed highways network.
The Secretary of State also met senior representatives from the Isle of Wight Council, Wightlink, Red Funnel and Hovertravel to discuss the importance of the ferry services to the Island’s economy and to highlight challenges faced by operators in continuing to provide sustainable and accessible cross-Solent travel.
It is the first time a senior government figure has ever been involved in a round table discussion on cross-Solent travel of this nature.
Speaking after his visit, the Secretary of State for Transport said, “Well maintained roads are vital for local communities and businesses to thrive, and the government is providing the Isle of Wight Council with £487.3 million to fund road improvements and maintenance.
“This is a big opportunity for the Island to harness private sector expertise and investment and I am pleased to have had the opportunity to learn more about the council’s plans to secure long term benefits from this project. The ferry links serving the Isle of Wight are also crucial to the Island’s future prosperity and I have had a useful discussion with ferry companies today about the issues facing operators.”
The PFI HQ has been named St Christopher House after the patron saint of travellers following a naming competition run in local schools by Island Roads as part of their commitment to involving the community.