There’s nothing quite like first-hand experience to fully understand an issue.
You can read as many reports as you like, but it can never match actually experiencing something.
So you could say it was good news for Gosport when transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin got stuck in traffic on the notorious A32 as he headed to a meeting at the town hall yesterday.
He ended up queuing with all the other drivers as utility works slowed things down even more than usual.
Mr McLoughlin said: ‘I can see that that (traffic) is a big problem because any utility works which take place, which are essential and have to be done, bring added congestion to the residents of Gosport.’
He was actually in Gosport to meet with MP Caroline Dinenage, Hampshire County Council transport boss Councillor Sean Woodward and Gosport’s council leader Cllr Mark Hook to hear all about the £30m plans for a Stubbington bypass.
Everybody who lives in this area knows how important it is to build a bypass and it is already a high priority at the county council. But it doesn’t have the money to carry out the work.
Now the government’s transport minister has had a personal insight into the problems of congestion on the A32.
As Cllr Woodward said: ‘Nothing beats showing somebody, he’s already got stuck on the A32 so that’s a good start.’
We accept that the bypass scheme will have to compete against others for any central government cash.
But the case for it is compelling – all the more so now that Mr McLoughlin has seen the tailbacks for himself.
This isn’t just about making motorists’ lives easier. Building a bypass is crucial to attracting investment to the area and boosting the town’s economy.
So let’s hope Mr McLoughlin remembers his journey when it comes to distributing government cash.