Local support will be vital in getting major upgrades to the A27 at Chichester, Arundel and Worthing, the Transport Minister Richard Holden MP has made clear in an interview with Sussex World and its newspapers.
Mr Holden was attending Transport for the South East’s ‘Connecting The South East’ annual conference held in Brighton to discuss improving transport infrastructure across the region as well as debating issues such as alternative fuels and active travel.
Speaking to Sussex World before he gave his keynote address, he responded to the question: "The main arterial road across Sussex is the A27. We have bottlenecks at Chichester, Arundel and Worthing. Is there any hope of upgrades?"
Mr Holden said: "We've put in quite a lot of cash into roads right across the country and not just new roads but also capital investment into roads that have come to the end of their natural life with concrete structural upgrades and that sort of thing.
"I am fully aware of how important the A27 is and there's a lot of conversations on-going around RIS3 which is the road investment scheme 3 for the big strategic road network. There's also some conversations I've been having with some of the local authorities as well who aren't always exactly happy with some of the alignments particularly the district councils.
"I want to see these projects carried forward but it is vital that we get local support otherwise we will never get them over the line."
Asked about proposals for a second runway at Gatwick Airport, Mr Holden said: "This is something that will go through the planning process which I may well have a role in so I have to be a little careful on the specifics of it, especially if it's 'called in'.
"But what we have done, we have put quite a lot of cash into helping the station there I think about £15m upgrade recently.
"I regularly travel through Gatwick, I know how important it is to the local economy. Only a few weeks ago I was there looking at a new hydrogen bus network which we have put into Crawley which is hugely linked into Gatwick. So we are putting investment there around the public transport infrastructure around the airport.
"Air travel is vitally important but it is also important that we decarbonise it at the same time. So we have got a big push on something called Jet Zero which is how we can move to a lower carbon transport system because transport is one of the biggest elements of the UK economy that is still an emitter. But we cannot sacrifice jobs and economic growth on the other side. It's about achieving the right balance between those two things.
The event was held at the Amex Stadium in Brighton and brought together representatives from councils, transport providers, politicians and passenger groups from across the region.