Posted 20th October 2010 | 6 Comments
Transport keeps biggest share of funds, after defence
THE Chancellor has told the House of Commons that a number of major railway upgrades have survived the government's spending review.
Crossrail is to go ahead, as expected, but electrification will also be carried out between Manchester, Liverpool and Preston.
Other rail projects surviving the axe include the expansion of Midland Metro, the modernisation of Tyne & Wear Metro, and upgrades on London Underground, which will be ‘protected’.
However, plans to increase rail fares more sharply from 2012 are already coming under fire.
On railways, the Chancellor said: “Mr Speaker, after our defence requirements are met, the Department for Transport will receive the largest capital settlement. Over the next four years we will invest over £30 billion in transport projects, more than was invested during the past four years. £14 billion of that will fund maintenance and investment on our railways.
“The cap on regulated rail fares will rise to RPI +3% for the three years from 2012, but that will help this country afford new rolling stock as well and improve passenger conditions. The Secretary of State will set out how more of the transport money will be allocated next week.
“But I want to tell the House today about some of the projects that will go ahead. For let’s remember that even after these tough spending settlements the country is still going to be spending over £700 billion a year.
“So in Yorkshire and Humber, £90 million will be spent to improve rail platforms across various towns and cities and we will also improve line speeds across the Pennines.
“In the North East, £500 million will be spent refurbishing the Tyne & Wear metro. In the North West, we will invest in rail electrification between Manchester, Liverpool, Preston and Blackpool. Rail and roads are devolved to the Scottish executive, as are roads in Wales – but I can tell the House that major rail investments around Cardiff, Barry and Newport will go ahead.
“In the West Midlands, we will extend the Midland Metro and completely redevelop Birmingham New Street station.
“In London, on top of the Olympics, a major investment in our capital city’s transport infrastructure will take place. Crossrail will go ahead and key Tube lines will be upgraded for the twenty first century.”
However, nothing was said about main line electrification, despite rumours that the Midland Main Line was poised to replace the Great Western Main Line at the top of the list. Neither has the reference to new rolling stock yet been explained in any detail, leaving the prospects for the Thameslink Programme and Intercity Express still uncertain for now.
The Chancellor said he had only announced some of the projects, and that more details would follow.
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