Billions to be given to subway mayors for the overhaul of transport


Rishi Sunak is set to inject billions of pounds into transportation to give metro mayors the power and responsibility to improve key connections.

The Treasury said nearly £ 7billion would go to areas such as Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and South Yorkshire for projects ranging from improving trams to introducing London-style improvements in infrastructure, prices and services.

The investment will be seen as a victory for Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, who has lobbied heavily on the government to hand over the money to his region to start a London-style transport system.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham Credit: Jacob King / AP

Labor’s Mr Burnham had asked for £ 1billion and lobbied ministers at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester earlier this month.

He had said handing him the money to introduce his London-style Bee Network would make political sense for the government, as Boris Johnson could blame him if he failed and take credit for his success.

And the Treasury has confirmed that Greater Manchester will receive £ 1.07 billion in next week’s budget and spending review.

The announcement is also presented as a vote of confidence in the decentralization program, as all those receiving the money are areas with metro mayors.

Mr Burnham said the funding was an “important first step” which “shows the government is listening to the Greater Manchester case”.

But he said continued revenue funding would also be needed.

“As welcome as it is, investment in infrastructure alone will not make leveling real for the people of Greater Manchester,” he said.

“This will only happen when the frequency and coverage of bus services are increased and fares are lowered to London levels.

“So now we hope that the government will soon build on this foundation and combine this allocation with revenue funding to make our vision of the Bee network a reality.”

Elsewhere, £ 830million will be given in West Yorkshire, £ 570million in South Yorkshire, £ 1.05bn in the West Midlands, £ 310million in Tees Valley, £ 540million in the west of England and £ 710 million for Liverpool. City region.

Andy Street, the Conservative Mayor of the West Midlands, welcomed the announcement and said: “I am absolutely delighted that our ambition has paid off and we have secured over £ 1 billion of investment from the government to continue our transportation revolution here in the West. Midlands.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street hailed the announcement Credit: Steve Parsons / AP

“This is the highest transportation sum we’ve ever received, and I know the team can’t wait to move forward and start putting diggers in the field on some truly revolutionary projects. .

“More and more metro lines and stations, new bus lines and electric vehicle charging points, this money will help us continue to build a clean and green transportation network that connects communities and tackles to the climate emergency. ”

Some £ 5.7bn will be in transport regulations for the regions, while £ 1.2bn in new funding will go to transforming bus services to deliver journey times, fares and a number of London style services.

Mr. Sunak said, “Big cities need great transportation and that is why we are investing billions to improve connections in our urban areas as we expand opportunities across the country.

“There is no reason why someone working in the North and Midlands has to wait several times longer for their bus or train to arrive in the morning compared to a commuter in the capital.

“This transportation revolution will help correct this imbalance as we modernize our local transportation networks to suit our major cities and the people who live and work there.

The £ 5.7bn is a five-year settlement and has been increased from the £ 4.2bn originally proposed, the Treasury said.

While the £ 1.2bn funding for buses is part of the £ 3bn the Prime Minister pledged to spend on a ‘bus revolution’ in March.

The Passenger Transport Confederation, which represents the bus and coach industry, said that the fact that the £ 3 billion had not yet been met meant that “the government’s rhetoric was unfortunately not to be met. the height of reality ”.

Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps said, “We are absolutely committed to rebuilding and stimulating regional economies across the country, and these investments are a clear example of how we are doing it.

“Modernizing our transportation network is at the heart of our upgrade program.

“This funding will serve as a catalyst for the regeneration of cities by improving infrastructure and ensuring more people have better access to employment and education.”

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will also receive additional funding through the Barnett Formula.

Mr Burnham called for more powers and funding for Greater Manchester’s transport system and tweeted on Thursday a photo of a train ticket from Manchester to Newton-Le-Willows, Merseyside, which he said was a 20 minute single journey, costing £ 8.00.

He said in the tweet: “To be upgraded we need London-level tariffs. Accept nothing less.

However, there have been tensions with Labor MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark Neil Coyle who responded on Twitter: “It is * more expensive * to have a subscription from Croydon in central London than from Chorley in central Manchester. .

“These cheap digs in London are inaccurate and must end, especially for anyone interested in the success of Labor or for anyone interested in the facts.”

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