The Chancellor is set to announce a huge £6.9 billion local transport revolution to improve commutes and journey times across cities in England outside of London.
As part of next week’s Budget and Spending Review, Rishi Sunak is set to pump £5.7 billion into sustainable transport settlements for city regions to boost productivity through train and station upgrades.
It will also go towards the expansion of tram networks in cities outside of London.
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He will also announce £1.2 billion of new funding to transform bus services, as part of the £3 billion committed by the Prime Minister.
This will deliver Transport for London-style improvements to speed up journey times, simplify fares and increase the number of services outside of the capital.
Jamie Driscoll, North of Tyne Mayor, said he has been “assured” the region’s allocation has been put to one side.
He said: “I spoke to the Government ahead of the March 2020 budget to make sure we get our full share of this transport investment.
“They’ve said this money is available for Mayoral Combined Authorities and if the whole of Tyne & Wear joins with North of Tyne, we’ll get our full allocation.
“I’m all over this and in fact spoke personally with the Transport Secretary just on Monday. They’ve assured us that our allocation has been put to one side. I’ve urged the Government not to wait so that we can get cracking improving our transport system right now.
“I’ve been working on this for the past 18 months. We’ve got complete unity in the North East and have asked Government to give it to us straight away, for the North East Joint Transport Committee to administer.
“But ultimately Government has the power to insist that we come together as a united Mayoral Combined Authority before giving us the money. Mind you, uniting as a North East would be good for our region anyway.”
(Image: North of Tyne Combined Authority/PA Wire)
The Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said: “Great cities need great transport and that is why we’re investing billions to improve connections in our city regions as we level up opportunities across the country.
“There is no reason why somebody working in the North and Midlands should have to wait several times longer for their bus or train to arrive in the morning compared to a commuter in the capital.
“This transport revolution will help redress that imbalance as we modernise our local transport networks so they are fit for our great cities and those people who live and work in them.”
As part of the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlements, funding will be allocated for projects in Greater Manchester (£1.07billion), West Yorkshire (£830 million), South Yorkshire (£570 million), West Midlands (£1.05 billion), Tees Valley (£310 million), West of England (£540 million) and Liverpool City Region (£710 million).
This will enable projects such as cutting-edge carriages for Greater Manchester’s Metrolink, an expansion of tram networks in South Yorkshire and the West Midlands, and battery packs for Merseyrail trains to extend its network.
As part of the Prime Minister’s £3 billion commitment to transform bus services across the country, the Spending Review will include a new, dedicated £1.2 billion programme.
This is set to improve infrastructure, fares and services outside of London and places will be selected in the coming months to benefit from this investment.
This funding will deliver integrated fares and ticketing, so that bus users can enjoy simpler, cheaper fares like those enjoyed already by passengers in London.
As well as additional services across the weekdays, weekends, and evenings, and ambitious new bus priority measures to speed up journeys on busy roads.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We’re absolutely committed to building back better and boosting regional economies right across the country, and these investments are a clear example of how we’re doing that.
“Modernising our transport network sits at the heart of our levelling up agenda. This funding will serve as a catalyst for the regeneration of towns and cities by improving infrastructure and ensuring more people have better access to jobs and education.”
The Devolved Governments in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland will receive additional funding through the Barnet formula because of this investment for England – this will be outlined in full at the Spending Review.
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