From Prof Stephen Glaister.

Sir, It is a breath of fresh air to read that the Liberal Democrats want to see the programme of infrastructure projects speeded up (“Clegg seeks to invest way out of gloom”, September 21).

However, I would like to put Nick Clegg’s mind at ease on one point. He bemoans the lack of shovel-ready projects. Yet, if he were to look in the Department for Transport he would find many shelved road schemes that admirably fit the bill. Why make far-distant plans for high-speed rail when you could immediately commence road projects that will deliver much higher benefits? Much needed road improvements would make a positive difference to the lives of people across the social spectrum around the whole country while HS2, serving a narrow route, would just make even more exclusive a railway that is “already relatively a rich man’s toy”, as Philip Hammond admits.

And if, after all this, ministers still feel they are short of shovel-ready ideas, they might like to start filling in the potholes on the roads we have already got.

Stephen Glaister, Director, RAC Foundation, London SW1Y, UK

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