Transport for the North has called on the Government to back its plans for a Northern Infrastructure Pipeline, a 30-year investment plan of infrastructure projects it says will return £3 for every pound spent.
The pipeline includes rail, road, active travel and smart ticketing proposals; divided into three groupings: those that could be started over the next six to 18 months, those two to four years from a start; and those where “immediate investment in accelerated development” would ultimately lead to starts in 2026 or beyond.
The pipeline underpins the Economic Recovery Plan proposed by TfN and recently agreed by business and civic leaders.
The short-term projects include technology to enable contactless payments across all railway stations and light rail networks, along with road and rail projects worth a combined £850m. This list includes projects such as the Middleeich eastern bypass where a Compulsory Purchase Order programme was approved last month, the Carlisle relief road and schemes around Preston’s growth areas.
Projects slated as starting in two to four years include the various elements of the HS2 hub project around Crewe station, the dualling of the A558 at Daresbury and the upgrade of Liverpool’s Rocket junction. The longer-term schemes include the likes of the Parkside rail freight interchange, Cumbria’s Lakes Line and Blackpool’s South Fylde line.
Barry White, chief executive at TfN, said: “Our focus must be on rebuilding the North’s economy, which was already at an economic disadvantage to the South before COVID-19 hit. Our Economic Recovery Plan outlines quick-fire ways to rapidly invest in shovel-ready infrastructure projects and initiatives, helping rebuild and transform the North over the next few years.
“We believe that’ll not only deliver an economic prize, to the tune of 20,000 jobs and a return of £3 for every £1 spent but – more importantly – a social return. It’ll help better connect communities, slash carbon emissions from transport in the North and support people in living healthier lives.
“Crucially, these aren’t new or over-ambitious asks. They’re projects already in the system that now need the starting gun firing or a bit of work to nudge them across the line.”
Andy Burnham, mayor of Greater Manchester, added that the pipeline os a “vital first step” in addressing the legacy of historic under-investment across the North, while Liverpool metro mayor Steve Rotheram spoke of the need for a “London-style integrated transport system”.
There are 166 projects listed in total, around 60 of them in the grouping set to start soon.