Transport for the North has agreed its draft strategic plan, which calls for sustained investment in the region’s railways and roads over the next 30 years, including more rail connections between Liverpool and London.
The plan will be subject to a 13-week consultation in the New Year, and will be submitted to the Government for ministerial consideration later in 2018. The draft plan will be published on 16 January, and a public consultation will run from mid-January to early April.
The plan, which has been backed by civic and business leaders across the North of England, calls for an additional spend of between £700m and £900m per year on transport across the region over the next 30 years.
Factoring in expected ongoing strategic investment, TfN is calling for a total spend of between £2bn and £2.3bn per year over the period.
Proposed projects and investments are split between short and medium-term priorities, with short-term schemes including rolling out smart ticketing across the North of England. In the medium-term, TfN is focussing on winning support for Northern Powerhouse Rail to improve East-West rail connections.
An outline business case for the East-West connection will be submitted to the Secretary of State for Transport by the end of 2018.
TfN also said it would be calling on HS2 to add more junctions in Cheshire to serve Liverpool via a new line. This would enable more direct and faster connections between Liverpool and London via HS2.
John Cridland, TfN Chairman, said: “Our plans would revolutionise travel around the North, particularly East–West links which have previously not received enough attention, and, by extension, will improve how the region does business.”
“For decades, the North has underperformed compared to the rest of England.
“Robust evidence shows that investing in quality infrastructure, as well as in other important areas such as education, skills development and research, could lead to more than 850,000 additional jobs in the North by 2050 and £100 billion additional Gross Value Added.
“Although what we’re looking at is investment in our roads and railways, this isn’t just about transport. It’s about ensuring that the North of England is a thriving region where people can learn, build a career and enjoy an excellent quality of life.”