Wales politics

'I want to build as never before', says Ken Skates

Ken Skates
Image caption Ken Skates said a Menai Strait crossing was a "priority project".

Wales' minister responsible for transport and roads has said he wants to build like "never before".

Economy Secretary Ken Skates said US president-elect Donald Trump was "late to the party" when it came to the importance of infrastructure.

He said he wanted to find solutions to congestion in north Wales as well as build an M4 relief road around Newport.

Meanwhile he revealed the government is negotiating with National Grid over a shared crossing over the Menai Strait.

National Grid is currently planning to build a tunnel under the Menai Strait to carry cables linking the proposed Wylfa Newydd nuclear power station with the mainland.

But the company said that, as things stand, the timelines of the projects do not "match".

'Invest in infrastructure'

Mr Skates told the BBC's Wales Report programme: "I wish to build as never before".

Mr Trump has promised to rebuild the US' infrastructure to become "second to none".

"Donald Trump is, I'm afraid, quite late to the party in talking about the importance of infrastructure," Mr Skates said.

"The Labour government said that at UK level back in 1997, 2001."

Mr Skates said he had been saying "for some time" that to drive economic prosperity it was necessary to invest in infrastructure, have available skills and have the "right regional economic development vehicle".

He said he wanted to be a minister who "builds, not just the relief road, but also builds solutions for congestion in the north on the A55".

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Media captionBBC Wales' Nick Palit takes a look inside one of the National Grid tunnels in London

He also suggested a third crossing over the Menai Strait was a "priority project".

The Welsh Government is commissioning work to look at routes for a third Menai crossing.

"What we're doing at the moment is negotiating with National Grid over the potential to channel the cables for Wylfa Newydd through a shared crossing," Mr Skates told the programme.

He said said a shared crossing would "vastly reduce taxpayers' contribution".

A National Grid spokeswoman said: "We have been in discussions for some time with the Welsh Government to understand their plans for a third Menai Bridge.

"We agree, as things currently stand, that the timelines of the projects do not match. We will continue to work together to understand any changes to each other's plans.

"Until there is a final suitable design for the bridge and a firm programme to deliver it, we have to progress with our current proposals to provide a connection for Wylfa Newydd by 2024."

Plans for a public inquiry for the M4 relief road have been delayed until early 2017.

The Wales Report, BBC One Wales, 22:40 GMT, Wednesday November 16

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