A LEEDS MP today called for major transport improvements after a new report reveals traffic jams in the city will cost motorists £1.5 billion by 2025.
Transport information company Inrix found time wasted in the UK’s worst traffic jams will leave drivers out of pocket to the tune of £62 billion by 2025. London topped the list of 10 worst UK cities for congestion costs with delays in the capital estimated to set drivers back £42 billion over the next decade. Leeds was seventh in the list with an estimated cost to drivers of £1.5 billion by 2025. Bradford was eighth at £1.1 billion.
The Inrix study, which used travel time figures from a Department of for Transport Commssioned report, identified the worst hotspot in Leeds as the westbound M62 junction 26 with junction one of the M606.
Leeds North West Lib Dem MP Greg Mulholland said: “It is shocking that traffic congestion will cost Leeds and Bradford £2.6 billion by 2025 and this shows that the Leeds City Region urgently needs major transport improvements.
“Following the scrapping of the New Generation Trolleybus scheme, Leeds City Council have been given £173.5 million by central government, and with up to £81m of local funding for NGT, the city has £250m and a once in a lifetime opportunity to transform transport in Leeds and to at least get started with a mass transit light rail scheme.
“Yet it seems Leeds City Council are set on frittering away the £173.5 million on park and rides and smaller improvements.
“This is showing a complete lack of leadership and ambition for our city which they will condemn to continue to be the biggest city in Western Europe without a mass transit scheme.
Pudsey Conservative MP Stuart Andrew said: “This highlights exactly why Leeds needs a fully integrated transport system. Our local economy is losing out as a result.”
Coun Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “The TomTom report highlights the problem of congestion on the West Yorkshire motorway network, which is the responsibility of national Government. Greg Mulholland MP is mistaken in believing this is the fault of Leeds City Council. Instead he should be making the case to Government for more investment in strategic road and rail links across the north.
“The report shows that congestion is a serious issue affecting Leeds, along with many other major cities, including those with trams. Next week we will publish our response to the eight thousand people who gave us their views on transport in Leeds. They want us to deliver new stations, park and ride services, new trains with more seats, and a step change in the quality of the bus network, all of which must be integrated better to tackle congestion and crowding and make a real difference to commuters over the next few years.”
She added: “Now is the time for the city to unite around delivering short term improvements and securing longer term investment for even more ambitious plans ready for the arrival of HS2. We will look with our expert advisers at all the longer term options, including the potential for a mass transit system. The reality is a tram system would cost the best part of a billion pounds, and take almost a decade to plan and build. The people travelling into and around Leeds cannot wait that long for any improvements, particularly when there is no guarantee of us securing that level of funding, so we will act now to improve their journeys whilst also planning for the future.”
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