States are set infrastructure puzzle by north

THEY were already talking about fatigue before they started the secondary education debate, but by the end of Friday States members will have clocked up six days out of 10 in the States Chamber.

Members still have to finish discussions on education but will also for the first time dip into the detail of the new Government Work Plan.

The Government Work Plan is meant to give States members a clear direction of what they should be up to for the next four years. It includes financial detail, seeks to exclude so-called and controversial ‘vanity projects’, and also includes detail on revenue and capital spending, including infrastructure spend.

One of the obvious complaints about the previous States was that it did not spend enough on regular maintenance and infrastructure, and that’s a theme that parish authorities in the north of the island have picked up on today on our front page and in a double-page spread inside.

Much has been made on how the GWP was pulled together in just six months or so. But the douzaines of St Sampson’s and the Vale say that the States has also ignored a bit of long-term planning which they first set in train more than a decade ago.

Proposed in 2009, the States Infrastructure Plan, they parishes say, should have ensured long-term thinking and value for money for the taxpayer in developing, providing for and maintaining the road transport network, the airport, harbours, hospitals, schools, climate change, flood defences, e-connectivity, transport links, public transport, utilities, waste management systems, social housing, the ageing population and the demographic time bomb.

The States may contend that it has worked on much of this, but, in the absence of a clear response, as the parishes say, we can only conclude that the response has been disjointed at best.

The parishes’ concerns are both general and site-specific in the Bridge and north of the island. They seem fair points to make – though it’s far from clear whether the States can, or will, offer anything ‘concrete’ in response. But it seems the Government Work Plan is unlikely to offer much in the way of answers.

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