£70bn plan to boost transport in the North

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Transport for the North has launched its £70 billion draft Strategic Transport Plan saying that the 30 year programme could help boost the economy of the region by £100 billion and create 850,000 jobs.

TfN chairman John Cridland said: “For the first time, civic and business leaders and transport operators are speaking with one voice on transport to make sure the North fulfils its potential. Our plan proposes a revolutionary investment programme that will make it possible to travel to high quality jobs. This is an ambitious programme that will improve our roads and railways, and will also drive a sea change in skills development in the North and ensuring we meet that historic gap in investment.”

Central to its plans are seven ‘corridors’ of opportunity. For example, the ‘Southern Pennines’ corridor identifies proposed road and rail improvements from the Port of Liverpool to the Humber Ports, via Cheshire, Greater Manchester and Sheffield City Region, as well as strengthening cross-border movements into the East Midlands, while ‘Connecting the Energy Coasts’ explores ways to improve travel between some of the UK’s vital non-carbon energy and research assets in Cumbria, North Lancashire, North Yorkshire, the North East and Tees Valley.

The Road Haulage Association welcomed the announcement but said it needed to be convinced that the plan would be able to deliver its aim of closing the economic gap between the North and the rest of England by 2050.

“Any announcement about plans to invest in transport infrastructure is good news,” said RHA chief executive Richard Burnett. “But as always, the devil is in the detail.

“Will the proposed funding model go far enough to stimulate the growth needed to bridge this historical gap?

“An extra £700-900 million a year investment might sound like a lot, but we still don’t know what the changes to the road network to accommodate future generations of vehicles is going to cost. So we need to understand how robust this plan will be against competing demands for funding.”

And Neil Carberry, CBI managing director for infrastructure and people, said: “The publication of Transport for the North’s Strategic Transport Plan is a significant milestone in delivering the infrastructure that is needed to boost productivity across the whole of the north. Their plans for improved connections between the towns, cities and economic centres that will drive long-term growth, reflect many of the priorities highlighted by businesses in the north.

“It is now for other areas and central government to work together to ensure that no region is left behind by the regional growth agenda.”

A consultation on the plan runs until 17th April.

Click here for more details. http://transportforthenorth.com/stp/

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