By Sarah Atherton

MP for Wrexham

Last Tuesday, we received the sad news that King Charles III has been diagnosed with cancer. This news came just after the Princess of Wales underwent abdominal surgery. On behalf of all residents in Wrexham, I would like to wish His Majesty and the Princess of Wales both a speedy recovery.

Last week marked the one-year anniversary of the Welsh Labour Government’s Roads Review. The Welsh Government’s Road Review scrapped some of the most high-profile road building schemes in Wales. For Wrexham, this meant that the A483 Wrexham Bypass Junctions 3 to 6 scheme to reduce congestion was scrapped in a bid for the Welsh Government to cut car use, get us on our bikes and force us on infrequent bus services.

The problem here is that the Welsh Government is working against its own aims of increasing public transport use. Let’s look at the facts:

• The Welsh Government’s 20 mph blanket policy has caused Arriva to reconfigure timetables and consider scrapping certain bus routes, leaving remote villages and regular passengers stranded.

• Due to 20mph, taxis have had to increase fares and now take 2 less rides a shift.

• Whilst Welsh Labour-run Transport for Wales (TfW) continues to run a poor service, they are increasing ticket prices by a staggering 4.9%.

With the ludicrous 20mph speed limit, which I have recently called to be repealed, and hiking train ticket prices up, Labour’s war on motorists knows no bounds. It begs the question, what’s next for Wrexham – ULEZ and toll roads?

Even after the Welsh Government used £125 million to bail out TfW, they still sit firmly in bottom place for UK customer satisfaction, and we see passengers continually complain about deteriorating and unreliable services. Answers such as ‘trains cancelled last minute’ and ‘crowded and unsafe carriages’ were highlighted in my transport survey.

The Welsh Government’s plan for increased use of public transport services is fundamentally flawed: raising prices whilst running a poor service only forces people to rely more on their cars.

Meanwhile, the Welsh Government continues to argue that they do not receive enough money from the UK Government to upgrade transport infrastructure. However, the key here is that the Welsh Labour Government has the funding available and can choose when and how to spend this money. The Welsh Government receives a significant funding settlement from the UK Government, where Wales receives £1.20 to spend on public services for every £1 spent in England.

This argument, based on nothing more than deflection and their own mismanagement of taxpayer’s money on nonsensical transport policies, is nothing new. Over the years, the Welsh Government has continued to prioritise spending hard-earned taxpayer’s money in irresponsible ways; £52 million for Cardiff airport in 2013 and most recently, £40million on the unwanted 20mph blanket policy. The one thing that both of these policies have in common is that the benefits do not outweigh cost, in fact it all goes downhill. The 20mph policy is projected to cost the Welsh economy £4.5billion and Cardiff airport is a bottomless pit for taxpayers’ money, now being estimated worth £15million after writing off a series of debts.

The argument that the Welsh Government’s transport agenda is falling short because of the UK Government short-changing them is frankly untrue.

To make matters worse, as a result of Wrexham’s Local Development Plan - a plan imposed on us by the Welsh Government and Labour Councillors and Senedd Members - communities will now feel the impact of 8,000 houses being built in Wrexham. Whilst I am not opposed to more housing, future property developments require improvements to existing infrastructure such as hospitals, schools, drainage systems, GP surgeries and emergency services first.

In contrast, we see the Welsh Government underfunding our statutory services, proposing cuts to this year’s education budget despite having the lowest school test results in the UK and stopping all new road building. On top of this, it is difficult to judge car speeds as cars now drive from 15mph upwards, putting pedestrians at risk.

Imposing 8,000 houses, whilst there is no transport system or infrastructure in place to match these newfound needs will only serve to exacerbate the challenges my constituents face on a daily basis.

Since the Roads Review announcement last year, Wales has been slowly grinding to a halt and with the new First Minister set to be in place next month, it is worrying that neither candidate has mentioned a plan address these issues.

The new First Minister needs to implement a pro-worker, pro-growth and pro-business transport infrastructure that matches the needs of our growing city.

Having revamped my Transport Survey, I want to hear your thoughts on transport in Wrexham via my ‘Transport Survey’ on my website homepage.

If you are a resident in the current Wrexham constituency boundary and need my assistance with any local or national issues, please contact me on: