Image Source: Matt Buck
TfN will consider the plan at a meeting in February
Richard Bell

TfN’s new £70bn Strategic Transport Plan to have ‘transformational impact’ on Northern Powerhouse economy

Transport for the North (TfN) has revealed ambitious plans to invest £70bn in the transport infrastructure of the Northern Powerhouse over the next 30 years.

Unveiled today (January 31), the Strategic Transport Plan could generate an extra £100bn for the economy of the North and stimulate the creation of 850,000 jobs between now and 2050.

The £70bn investment figure is equivalent to just £50 per Northener per year, and yet it could have a “transformational impact” on the regions involved, according to the director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership.

Henri Murison explained: “The Strategic Transport Plan is a welcome first step to the investment of up to £120bn to truly deliver the transformational impact on the Northern Powerhouse economy that we so badly need.”

The programme’s centrepiece is Northern Powerhouse Rail – the proposed fast rail line linking Liverpool to Manchester and Newcastle.

But it will also see cash pumped into schemes involving upgraded and new major roads, improvements to the existing rail network and the ongoing introduction of smart ticketing.

Speaking further, Mr Murison said: “Lining up all the North’s airports to deliver the inward investment we will need in a post-Brexit world, with Manchester Airport giving connectivity equivalent to what Heathrow offers today, and connecting our ports to ensure freight moves as efficiently as possible, are significant priorities; the plan sets out the local improvements needed to make these a reality.”

The Northern Powerhouse Partnership director said the aim now, following the release of the Strategic Transport Plan, is to ensure Northern Powerhouse Rail – which he called the “jewel in the crown of Northern infrastructure improvements” – is approved.

It is also important, he said, that HS2 is brought to Leeds and Manchester.

Mr Murison continued: “These major projects are not simply about cutting journey times, increasing frequency or enhancing capacity. They will create the opportunities our young people need to secure the skilled jobs of the future needed to transform our economy and eradicate the North-South divide.”

TfN will consider the plan at a meeting in Chester on February 7.

If approved, it will be launched at the body’s inaugural conference in Sheffield on February 11, after which it will become TfN’s statutory advice to government.

Responding to the plan, Penny Marshall, director of the Institution of Civil Engineers’ Yorkshire and Humber arm, said: “It is essential that government and industry now work together to develop a clear, sustainable, long-term approach that takes account of local spatial planning, driven by population growth and changing employment patterns.

“We are particularly impressed with how Yorkshire has been catered for in the plan, including the improved links to Leeds-Bradford airport, the commitment to the improvements of the A1, and, of course, the proposed developments at existing rail facilities. This will surely be a huge win for the residents and businesses in the area.”

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