Promise to Lancashire as transport chiefs unveil £70bn plans

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Transport for the North has vowed to keep battling for Lancashire to benefit as much as possible from high-speed rail links.

The body has today set out an ambitious £70bn vision for the future of the North’s economy, unveiling draft proposals for northern infrastructure for the next 30 years.

The Strategic Transport Plan (STP) and the Investment Programme would rebalance decades of under-investment and transform the lives of people in the North. The STP outlines how up to £70 billion of investment to 2050 could contribute towards an additional £100 billion in economic growth for the North’s economy - creating 850,000 extra jobs.

The STP and Investment Programme mark the first time the North’s civic and business leaders have spoken with one voice on behalf of the North’s 15 million people, laying out a new pipeline of transport interventions.

The £70 billion pipeline looks to better connect the whole of the North, with a short, medium and long-term plan for investment

It aims to transform connectivity for people and businesses, and make it easier to move goods to, from and within the North

The plan makes the case to increase spending on strategic transport by around £50 per person in the North each year to 2050

It includes flagship programmes such as Northern Powerhouse Rail; upgraded and new major roads; enhancements to the existing rail network; and the continued roll out of smart ticketing.

The draft plan notes that under current proposals, HS2 will only reach as far as Wigan.

It says: "TfN will work with Partners to ensure the benefits of HS2 continue to be realised where services continue North along the West Coast Main Line and East Coast Main Lines, including spurs of the mainline to destinations such as Chester, North Wales, and Stockport.

"This includes the delivery of comprehensive masterplans for stations at Carlisle, Preston, Durham, Newcastle, and Darlington,"

The draft plan will be considered by Transport for the North’s Board, who will meet on Thursday February 7 in Chester.

These proposals will become Transport for the North’s statutory advice to Government on what the ongoing priorities are for enhancing sustainable and inclusive connectivity across the North.

Barry White, Chief Executive at Transport for the North, said: “The Strategic Transport Plan is a hugely important document for the North. It is our vision for a prosperous pan-Northern future and outlines how investment in transport could transform our economy.

“Our Investment Programme outlines how an additional investment of around £50 per person in the North, per year, could play a part in unlocking a £100billion increase in economic activity and create 850,000 new jobs.

“For the people of the North, this will mean more choice over where they live and work, access to higher quality jobs and better connections to friends and families. It will mean our businesses have more opportunity to collaborate, trade and grow in a sustainable way.

“This final Plan will be a statutory document written by the North, for the North, and will be our blueprint to deliver transformational change and leave a legacy for future generations.”