Suffolk County Council is due to meet to discuss its contribution to the A14 upgrade, which includes a toll, reports bbc.co.uk.
The £1.5 billion project will connect the M1 and M6 to Felixstowe – a vital logistics hub – but one local councillor has raised concerns ahead of the meeting next Tuesday (July 9th), due to its implications on trade.
Graham Newman, cabinet member for roads and transport for Suffolk, said: “The improvement needs to be weighed against the potential impact upon Suffolk’s trade links. Tolling of this road will uniquely affect every business and tourism interest in Suffolk – particularly our ports and logistics enterprises – in a way that affects no other authority.”
While central government has confirmed it will provide the majority of the cash for the upgrade – which will see work take place between Huntingdon and Cambridge – it relies on £100 million coming from local authorities such as Suffolk, which is expected to invest £1 million.
If a toll is introduced along the A14 could have a major effect on hauliers, many of which take goods up from Felixstowe to the Midlands and beyond. From there, individual firms can rely on local storage and warehouse automation to complete orders.
According to eadt.co.uk, Suffolk’s contribution of £1 million is due to be spread over 25 years, with the Department for Transport in Westminster keen to get started by 2016. While there is confidence that travel in the area would be improved, it is the cost to local businesses that is causing concern.