Transport for the North’s plans will revolutionise our rail and road network, including dualling of A64

I have today welcomed the calls for a near-doubling of transport investment over the next 30 years. Transport for the North’s wide-ranging and ambitious plans for the North include a total of between £100 billion and £120 billion to be committed over the next 30 years. I have played a leading role in the bid, including co-ordinating a letter sent to the Chancellor in July 2018 signed by 82 Northern parliamentarians and holding the position as co-Chair for the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Northern Powerhouse Partnership. Transport for the North (TfN) is a statutory body that includes elected and business leaders from across the whole of the North of England representing the region’s 15 million citizens. Its aim is, for the first time, to take a pan-Northern view and to encourage trade and inward investment by improving links to the North’s ports and airports and faster links between the major towns and cities, making the North a more attractive place for business to invest as well as delivering a huge boost to tourism.

Last year Northern Powerhouse MPs called on the Treasury to inject substantially more money into Northern transport improvements, and I am delighted that the Transport for the North Strategic Transport Plan defines the specific improvements needed in the key growth corridors which will unlock higher-paid employment opportunities, such as bringing together advanced manufacturing clusters so they can compete globally. Specifically, in North Yorkshire, these include new and refurbished rolling stock and more frequent services on the TransPennine Express; the much-needed dual carriageway on the A64 between Hopgrove and Barton Hill; improvements to the A19 and the York Outer ring road and, in the longer term, the provision of high speed rail services across the North to the rest of the UK through HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail.

TfN estimates it needs between £100 billion and £120 billion to be committed for transport improvement in the North, which will include local city and metro region transport deal and is calling on everyone, in whatever their capacity, to keep up the pressure to deliver these schemes and fully fund Northern Powerhouse Rail which it believes will create 850,000 extra jobs.

Since I was elected in 2015 I have been campaigning hard for more investment in the North to give us a chance to reach our full potential. Delivering this plan in full, alongside devolved transport investment for cities and their wider economic regions, will connect the Northern Powerhouse east to west from the coasts, rural areas and towns to our airports and cities. This will create jobs, investment and economic growth and to attract both overseas and UK companies to set up facilities in the North. I look forward to working closely with my Parliamentary colleagues from all sides, our civic leaders and businesses of all sizes to create a world-class transport network in the North of England capable of realising the ambitions of our 15 million people.

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