Most weeks I drive from Montgomeryshire, straight into the the Houses of Parliament. It usually takes an hour from Heathrow to the underground Car Park, where Guy Fawkes planned to start his little conflagration. The traffic can be dire. But nothing like as bad as it can be in Newtown in my constituency. The Newtown traffic problems are akin to those between Tokyo and its airport. So I asked for a meeting with Ieuan Wyn Jones, Deputy First Minister of the National Assembly for Wales, who also has responsibility for transport to discuss them.
Well, today the Deputy First Minister granted me an audience. It was a good meeting. I wish to share with you the position of the Assembly Government (at least the IWJ part of it) on the two issues of greatest importance. Firstly there is the mind blowing inefficiency of the current McDonald's traffic lights. I used to refer to them as the Tesco lights, but thought I should share the pain around. IWJ, supported by his transport advisory team, told me that immediate steps would be taken to improve the efficiency and if this failed, consideration would be given to re-instating the roundabout. The most incredible 'horlicks' was made when these lights were installed, but this is as good a response as I could hope for.
The second issue under discussion was the much talked about Newtown By-pass. All sorts of stories have been floating around. Well, it seems that 'stories' they are. The position is that unless (and this is a big 'unless) there are unforeseen delays in the relevant statutory processes, it's intended to start building the Newtown By-pass in 2013, and finish it in 2014. OK, so none of like delays of any sort, but I'll take 2014. Only three more years of travelling to Newtown via Bettws!