Southampton's roads are in a dreadful state. Last week councillors of all political parties were given a presentation on just how bad they are and possible solutions for the future.
There is an estimated £50m backlog in road repairs and each year, despite additional investment, the roads are deteriorating. The situation is getting worse, not better.
The state of the roads and pavements is a key concern to local people and rightly so. What is needed from the politicians is honesty.
The council is not in a position to reverse years of neglect using local taxation alone. Significant extra money is going to be needed from external sources.
The council has recently submitted a bid to government for £300m of PFI money to tackle our roads. It is expected that the bid will be unsuccessful. We all know the money tends to go to Labour's heartlands in the north and our local Labour MPs have no influence with government and consistently fail to lobby on behalf of the city.
Labour locally are promising in their election literature to repair a mile of road a week. This sounds impressive and I don't know how they have calculated the figure. What I do know is that in their city council budget proposals in February they proposed to spend the least of the 3 parties on repairs to the roads and last year they voted to cut the pot hole repair gangs.
Conservatives by contrast have pledged extra money. We would also spend the money more sensibly. Rather than wasting it on gold plating areas like Portswood Broadway, moronic schemes like the one in London Road and pointless pavement widening exercises we would address the roads that most need fixing.
The council needs to consider bringing in private sector expertise and experience to help us use our budgets more effectively. We also need to keep looking out for additional sources of funds from government and be quick to apply for such money.
Labour are forcing an extra £16,200 homes on Southampton over the next 20 years but they are not supplying the funding needed to support these extra homes (roads and other services).
A change of government is the best hope for Southampton, or at the very least we need MPs who will speak out for the city.