Capital investment of £100million to £130million in bus infrastructure is proposed in the final report of the South East Wales Transport Commission, established in 2019 to recommend alternatives to the abandoned M4 Relief Road scheme.
The current M4 through Newport’s northern suburbs drops from three lanes to two and is prone to congestion, particularly after accidents. Widening is impractical because it passes through tunnels. The proposed new alignment had an estimated construction cost of more than £1.5billion and was cancelled by the Welsh government in summer 2019 for environmental and cost reasons.
The commission, chaired by former HM Treasury head Lord Burns, recommends a ‘network of alternatives’ with an estimated capital cost of £590million to £840million. Most of the cost relates to new railway stations and track improvements to enable residents of suburbs between Cardiff and Newport and east of Newport to access services along the main line locally.
The commission’s recommendations, if implemented, would put 90% of people living in Cardiff and Newport within 1mile of a rapid bus corridor or railway station.