Barry White, Transport for the North Chief Executive, has declared his organisation’s support for Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s commitment to ‘build back’ the nation’s economy and infrastructure better and greener following COVID-19.
“The Prime Minister’s continuing commitment to ‘levelling up’ across the country is good news for our region and we are pleased to see some of the North’s vital infrastructure projects referenced in his latest announcement,” Barry said.
“Getting the green light on infrastructure projects has been slow over the decades, with projects getting caught up in too much red tape and funding decisions being made in ways that put the North at a disadvantage, all of which has exacerbated the economic divide. As such, we agree with the Prime Minister that now is not the time for austerity – a committed funding stream, starting immediately, is the way to tackle this head-on and get things moving on the vital infrastructure projects our people and businesses desperately need.
“Building back better for the North means committing to a Northern Infrastructure Pipeline of road and rail schemes, and we have already written to the Transport Secretary on this, setting out our proposals for an Economic Recovery Plan for the North.
“The road and rail schemes supported in this announcement are essential pieces of the puzzle for improving connectivity across our region, and must be supported by commitment to both HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail in full, as well as the Northern Infrastructure Pipeline projects we are recommending.
“The North stands ready to work with the Government to take these schemes forward at pace and we await further details from the Chancellor and in the National Infrastructure Strategy on how the Government will open the investment floodgates for the North’s benefit over the coming months and years.”
Discussing the announcement of £100m for ‘29 projects in our road network to get Britain moving,’ 11 of which are in the North, Barry continued: “Confirmed funding for essential road enhancements across the North is welcome news and will help to tackle the issues of congestion and resilience in local areas.
“However, to truly ‘level up’ the North they must be followed by a commitment to a Northern Infrastructure Pipeline of road and rail schemes for our region, which will build the foundations of a sustainable transport network that supports recovery and future growth.
“Our developing Economic Recovery Plan for the North will set out the essential schemes that our region needs, and which we know can be delivered at pace to support our people, business and economy in post-COVID recovery and beyond.”