This is a momentous day for Yorkshire and its future.
A great, inspirational county, it finds itself today at the forefront of Britain’s high speed rail revolution by benefitting from not just one but two new stations on HS2, the first North-South rail line to be built in this country since the 19th century.
In January last year, the Coalition Government set out plans for Phase 1 between London and Birmingham.
Today’s announcement confirms my preferred options for the Phase 2 route linking Birmingham with Leeds, Sheffield, the East Midlands and Manchester.
Our plans for HS2 recognise the pivotal role Yorkshire plays in ensuring Britain remains a successful and competitive force in the global marketplace.
HS2 will rebalance the economy and help ensure Yorkshire and other counties in the North and Midlands become an even greater economic powerhouse to rival London and the South East.
Yorkshire needs to attract more investment from home and abroad if it is to continue creating jobs and opportunities.
To operate efficiently and profitably, businesses need fast, reliable transport links to suppliers, labour and markets and that is precisely what HS2 will deliver.
Our announcement today, alongside recent decisions on the Northern Hub rail project and road upgrades, shows that we are listening and acting.
HS2 will deliver a massive capacity boost on some of our most important and busiest intercity routes. This will liberate space on the existing railway, for more commuter and more rural services, and help cut congestion by taking freight off roads and motorways.
High speed trains will cut the Leeds to London trip from 2hrs 12mins today to just 82 minutes. HS2 represents an unparalleled opportunity for Yorkshire and we have to seize it.