AS2011: Cost of transport wins outlined

The Chancellor put some detail on the previously trailed announcements of funding for a new link road into Manchester Airport and the electrification of the rail lines between Manchester and Leeds.

The new dual carriageway between the M56 at Manchester Airport and A6 south of Stockport will cost the government around £165m.

A further £290m will be spent on the electrification of the Transpennine Express route from Manchester to Leeds starting next year. The Government will also consider further investment in the Northern Hub, the expansion of rail capacity through Manchester being trumpeted by Network Rail, with an announcement due by July 2012. The government did say on Tuesday that Network Rail would have £1bn extra to spend on all projects, underwritten by the government.

In all, the Chancellor said 500 projects would receive funding, although the Treasury papers that accompanied the Autumn Statement showed many projects which had been approved in principle previously, such as the southern section of the Crewe Green link road bypass, a scheme to link up bus services across Manchester city region , and Rochdale transport interchange .

As predicted on Monday, there will be £20bn from British pension funds, £5bn from government for short-term projects and a further £5bn for the next spending period, in the next parliament.

Osborne also said city mayors would be able to borrow against future tax receipts, though it is not known how this will be represented in cities without elected mayors.

Baron Frankal, director of economic strategy at Manchester's policy think-tank New Economy, said: "A statement of this scale is always a double-edged sword but Manchester could fare particularly well out of some of today's announcements, especially those regarding infrastructure.

"Manchester is well placed to benefit from additional infrastructure expenditure with projects such as the electrification of the line between Manchester and Leeds, Rochdale's Transport Interchange, the development of the Manchester Cross City Bus, and improved access to Manchester Airport via the road networks."

Ed Cox, Institute of Public Property Research north director, said: "The National Infrastructure Plan is unlikely to deliver short term benefits and is a vital lifeline for longer-term growth prospects. Projects such as Transpennine rail electrification – which IPPR North has long advocated – are key to improving job accessibility across the North. But we need to look carefully at the figures: for example, Tyne & Wear Metro gets a headline grabbing £5m of rail spending in 2011/12, but £125m will be invested in Southern rail carriages and flexible smart ticketing in London and the South East."

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It’s not just “improved access to Manchester Airport”, the extension of the A555 Road to Nowhere (or the B&Q Bypass) will make a world of difference to communities in Heald Green, Styal, Handforth and Wilmslow.
Not to mention improving accessibility to Bramhall and Poynton. I’ll be investing in residential property there tomorrow.

By Steve Edgeller, GL Hearn

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