NORTHERN leaders are urging ministers to splash out £5 billion on transport projects up north to boost the economy.
The 30 year blueprint to build better roads, rail lines and cycle routes could better connect northern cities, provide 20,000 new jobs and start in six months, according to the Transport for the North.
They have announced a number of projects that could help create new job opportunities in the North immediately.
They also highlight the need for accelerating green infrastructure and boosting northern powerhouse rail – claiming an economic boost of £3 for every £1 spent.
Barry White, Chief Executive at Transport for the North, said: “Our Economic Recovery Plan outlines quick-fire ways to rapidly invest in shovel-ready infrastructure projects and initiatives, helping rebuild and transform the North over the next few years.
“Crucially, these aren’t new or over-ambitious asks. They’re projects already in the system that now need the starting gun firing or a bit of work to nudge them across the line.
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, a member of TfN, said that the pipeline would be a “vital first step” in addressing historic under-investment in the region.
He said: “TfN’s northern infrastructure pipeline is an essential part of securing the North’s economic recovery after the pandemic is over.
“It is also a vital first step in addressing the legacy of the historic under-investment in transport infrastructure across the North.
“I call on the Government to take these proposals seriously and to work with us to deliver on the ambitions in this plan so we rebuild and transform the North for future generations to come.”
Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire Combined Authority said: “The North has faced decades of underinvestment in infrastructure and rectifying that will be central to the way we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This economic recovery plan and the Northern Infrastructure Pipeline will not only help the North rebuild our economy, but also help rebalance the UK economy and deliver for our communities.
“We know that the way people access and use public transport has changed during the pandemic, but the fundamental challenge to build capacity and reliability into the transport network remains and must be addressed to truly transform the North.”
Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region said: “I’ve been making the case for a high quality, London-style integrated transport system that passengers in the Liverpool City Region desperately need and deserve.
“The Economic Recovery Plan has solid proposals for how we make a start in delivering that.
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“I urge the Government to make good its commitment to do whatever it takes and work with us to put this plan into action.”
A Department for Transport spokeswoman said: “People across the North rightly expect action, progress and ambition, and this Government is determined to accelerate improvements as we invest billions to level up the region’s infrastructure.
“Our integrated rail plan and the spending review will set out how investments can be delivered so that passengers across the North can experience better journeys and connections as quickly as possible.”
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