Good transport connections are key to improving the local economy which is why I actively campaigned for the Newtown bypass and continue to work for other important road and rail improvement schemes as well as improving road safety.
It is reported that sadly Powys has one of the highest road accident rates leading to someone being killed or seriously injured on our roads per 100,000 population.
I am pleased that the new Dyfi bridge and road scheme is about to open. The old bridge was never designed to carry the current volume of traffic and is often closed due to frequent flooding causing traffic to take a diversion of up to 30 miles.
The new Dyfi bridge will improve the reliability of crossing the River Dyfi and will improve access to key services including healthcare, employment opportunities and education for the people of Machynlleth and the surrounding areas.
There are several areas where road improvement and safety schemes are needed.
There have sadly been several accidents on the A458 Welshpool to Shrewsbury road, including a fatal accident last month. This road needs to be made safer and I believe there is a need for a scheme for this route. This is an issue that I have taken up with the Welsh Government Minister and local Police regarding this stetch of road. I am currently working with Cllr Amanda Jenner in facilitating an onsite meeting with the relevant bodies.
Other projects on my agenda this year include continuing to lobby for progress on a Pant–Llanymynech Bypass, various road safety Schemes at Caersws, on the A44 Llangurig to Aberystwyth, and works that need to take place at Talerddig.
Sadly, we have suffered from poor rail service for many years and the rail service we receive in Wales continues to be poor with trains regularly being cancelled, delayed or overcrowded.
I have been continually raising concerns about the performance of Transport for Wales on the Cambrian Aberystwyth to Shrewsbury line and have been seeking assurances over commitments made by Transport for Wales and the Welsh Government.
On a positive note, I have been pleased to support plans to improve accessibility at Newtown train station, as part of the Department for Transport funded Access for All programme.
The project will see a significant investment in the railway in Newtown with the installation of a brand-new fully accessible footbridge and lifts, linking platforms one and two.
Accessibility benefits people of all ages and helps to promote the use of the rail network by reducing carbon emissions and the reliance on car journeys.