Plea for wider West Yorkshire transport view

CROWDED LANES: The M62 in West Yorkshire.
CROWDED LANES: The M62 in West Yorkshire.
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MAJOR projects alone will not solve the transport problems holding back the West Yorkshire economy, George Osborne has been told.

The Chancellor’s promise yesterday to include cash in the Budget to support the development of a trans-Pennine high speed rail network, dubbed HS3, and accelerated improvements to the M62 between Leeds and Manchester.

But the Government was also urged to invest in upgrades to existing infrastructure to ensure benefits are felt faster and more widely..

Coun Keith Wakefield, chairman of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s transport committee, said: “Everyone agrees that better road and rail links between the our towns and cities are vital to the North achieving its massive economic potential so the Chancellor’s pre-budget announcement, which confirms and builds upon plans he unveiled in the Autumn statement, is welcome.

“However we need to see an ongoing government commitment to ensure these projects for the North don’t become stalled at the planning stage – we need to see them fully funded and delivered as soon as possible.

“It is also vital that in addition to these high profile schemes, the government invests in northern projects such as the electrification of the Calder Valley rail line linking Bradford, Halifax, Leeds and Manchester and the upgrade of the Leeds, Harrogate to York lines.”

The Campaign for Better Transport welcomed the Government’s support for HS3.

Chief executive Stephen Joseph said: “The Government must ensure that plans for HS3 include sustainable local public transport connections from the outset.”

Paula Dillon, President of Leeds Chamber Commerce.

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