Northern transport leaders have called for government to back road and rail infrastructure investment in the region to help rebuild and support economic recovery after the coronavirus pandemic.
In a letter to Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, Transport for the North (TfN) has highlighted the economic benefits of fast-tracking short-term road and rail improvement works, as well as accelerating Northern Powerhouse Rail, the East-West high-speed rail link proposed for the region.
TfN propose that supporting transport infrastructure investment will not only aid the economic recovery immediately following the Covid-19 lockdown, but also deliver sustainable growth in the future.
Projects proposed by TfN make up an Economic Recovery Plan for the region, centred on principles agreed by the North’s leaders including the need to reflect the challenges of COVID-19; accelerate job-creating schemes to give industry confidence; better integrate local transport through more devolution; and decarbonise the future of transport. The plan builds on the existing Strategic Transport Plan, which this week won an award for Transport Planning from the Chartered Institute for Highways and Transportation.
Barry White, Chief Executive of Transport for the North, said:
COVID-19 has had a profound effect on our people, businesses and economy and it’s essential that we take action to support their recovery by investing in our region now, and over the coming months and years.
“Through a sustained Northern Infrastructure Pipeline of transport schemes we can provide immediate confidence and set the North on the path to future growth. That’s now more important than ever.
“The projects and initiatives we’re putting forward are an initial set of quick wins and interventions the Government that will help to rebuild and transform the North of England’s economy. Our plan puts the needs of our passengers and businesses at the top of the agenda, while recognising the critical need to make getting around greener and much more accessible for every one of the North’s 15 million people.
“We’ve always said the North cannot wait at the back of queue and that we need a clear and committed pipeline of initiatives to reverse decades of underinvestment. Our Economic Recovery Plan puts forward tangible ways in which the Government can show commitment to that levelling-up agenda.”
The full letter from TfN detailing its recommendations to government is available here.