A GOVERNMENT pledge to widen the congested M4 Motorway between Reading and Heathrow Airport was welcomed tonight.

Reading West MP Alok Sharma hailed the commitment to include the M4 in proposals for the biggest programme of investment in roads since the 1970s.

Treasury secretary Danny Alexander announced measures to introduce four-lane capacity on 31 miles of the motorway between junction 12 at Theale and the A312 at Heathrow Airport - subject to feasibility tests and economic conditions.

It would be part of a wider commitment by the Government to spend public money on a range of specific projects worth more than �100 billion during the the next parliament - including more than �70 billion in transport, �20 billion plus in schools and at least �10 billion in science, housing and flood defences.

Under Government plans, annual investment in major road schemes will be trebled by 2020-21, compared to today's levels, including a commitment to building all available Highways Agency road projects to tackle the most congested parts of the network.

Mr Sharma said: "I am absolutely delighted to welcome the commitment by the Conservative-led government to widen the M4 between Reading and London which, as most Reading motorists will know, is one of the most congested parts of the motorway network in the country."

He added: "Reading is already benefiting from the Government's substantial investment in railways and roads, including a billion pound investment in Reading station, improvements to Pangbourne and Theale stations, as well as funding to relieve congestion on the A4 in Calcot and on the A33.

"This new commitment to widen the M4 adds to a growing list of infrastructure projects which will secure Reading's status as an economic powerhouse for decades to come."