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Business & Economy

Transport spending in North East ‘getting worse, not better’ according to transport chiefs

The body responsible for transport in the North East has slammed new planned spending figures as “woeful” and called on the Government to properly fund transport infrastructure in the region to close the gap with London.

Think-tank IPPR North today (Aug 19) published an independent analysis of planned transport spending in the regions stating that the North East will only receive £519 per person, while the capital will receive £3636 – more than seven times more per person.

Responding to the report, Councillor Martin Gannon, chair of the North East Joint Transport Committee and Leader of Gateshead Council, said:“These figures are woeful and highlight the significant gap between spending in the south and north of the country on transport.

“The situation regarding spending on transport is getting worse, not better and must be addressed urgently by Government.

“We are hugely ambitious for the North East and through our Transforming Cities funding bid, are aiming to unlock access to jobs, training and opportunity and drive the whole economy and I am calling on Government to help us achieve this.”

In July, the North East submitted a £377m bid to the Department for Transport to transform the way people travel around the region.

The transforming cities bid, if successful, will be the cornerstone of a £448m programme of investment up to 2023 made up of five key themes:

  • £82.9 million invested in 16 miles of improvements to bus corridors into and through town and city centres, with high quality priority measures to deliver consistent journey times.
  • £59.1 million to transform 29 miles of cycle and walking routes as well as cycle parking around town and city centres and major destinations including Metrocentre and Newcastle International Airport.
  • £55.9 million to upgrade key gateway rail stations including a new terminal building and parking at Sunderland, major improvements to access in and around Newcastle Central station and better access to Durham station.
  • £15.6 million to build new and larger park and ride sites for bus and Metro in Durham, Gateshead and north of Newcastle, as well as modernising payment.
  • £234.5 million to provide a new passenger rail line between Ashington, Blyth and Newcastle, and to deliver the Metro Flow Project to increase frequency, cut journey times and unlock future expansion of the network.

The programme was drawn up through extensive work by the region’s seven local authorities and transport executive Nexus alongside private sector partners, major developers, academic institutions, walking and cycling groups and public transport operators.

The outline bid is being developed through dialogue with the Department for Transport with a final business case expected to be submitted by the end of November. An announcement on the outcome is expected in early 2020.