Call for faster delivery of northern transport upgrades

August 12 2015  

Call for faster delivery of northern transport upgrades
Government has been criticised for not acting quickly enough on plans to improve transport in the north of England in order to help create an economically strong ‘Northern Powerhouse’.
 
Criticism came following publication of a ‘blueprint’ outlining how £13Bn of investment is being spent on road and rail projects to support growth in the region.
 
Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce head of research and policy Christian Spence welcomed the scale of the proposed investment. But, he said: “Without significant commitment to speedy delivery the businesses, commuters and residents of the north of England may yet be waiting years, if not a decade or more, before they see the tangible benefits of these plans.
 
“We must move from perpetual re-announcements for publicity’s sake, and deliver.”
 
Labour’s Shadow Rail Minister Lilian Greenwood added: “Instead of recycling old press releases, the Government should honour its commitments and get on with delivering electrification of the north TransPennine route and the Midland Main Line.”
 
But Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “Across the north, our investment is already having a huge impact. We are determined to keep the momentum going.”
 
Some key projects included on the blueprint are a refurbished station at Manchester Victoria, a scheme under way to widen the A1 from Coal House to Metro Centre and delivery of several smart motorways including on the M1, M6, M60, and across the Pennines on the M62.
 
A spokesperson for the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) North said the upgrades and improvements are an important step to creating a Northern Powerhouse, but claimed that leaders in the region want to see a more radical devolution of powers and budget over transport.
 
“We would urge the Government to go further and faster in support of the Transport for the North body, so it can shape the region’s destiny and end decades of chronic underinvestment in the North’s creaking transport network,” the spokesperson said.
 
(Photo: Tim Green and licensed for reuse under this Creative Common Licence)

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