Patrick McLoughlin visiting and officially opening the new PFI building, St Christopher House. Picture by Robin Crossley.
THE Secretary of State for Transport has said he has every confidence in the Isle of Wight’s multi-million pound PFI, during a visit today (Thursday).
Patrick McLoughlin MP had first hand experience of Island roadworks as he travelled from Ryde to Newport to cut a ribbon to officially open the new headquarters of Island Roads — the company that will be undertaking the highways PFI — at Daish Way.
Mr McLoughlin, who met PFI bosses and local suppliers, said the Isle of Wight had been very fortunate in managing to secure the PFI — one of only three in the country — but refused to be drawn on the controversial River Medina asphalt plant plans, stating it was a matter for the company to address.
He said the PFI would enable long-term maintenance of the Island’s roads bringing transport and economic benefits.
Asked about PFI funding, and fears it could leave the Isle of Wight in debt, he said: "There is no free money, but there are ways of managing and getting your roads in order and using a company you rely on to provide good services.
"We see elsewhere where PFIs work incredibly well, and some areas where they don’t work so well. I have every confidence this will be a successful PFI."
Mr McLoughlin is due to meet with Isle of Wight Council officials and ferry operators to discuss services later today.
"Ferries are very important to the Isle of Wight. They have already put a huge amount of investment in. There will always be a balance between wanting more services and the economic cost," he added.