Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Speak with One Voice on Transport, North Urged by Minister; LEADERS MUST UNIFY TO DRIVE FORWARD PROJECTS

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Speak with One Voice on Transport, North Urged by Minister; LEADERS MUST UNIFY TO DRIVE FORWARD PROJECTS

Article excerpt

Byline: JONATHAN WALKER Political Editor jon.walker@trinitymirror.com @jonwalker121

TRANSPORT Minister Jo Johnson has urged the North to speak with one "strong, unified voice" as a new regional transport body met for the first time since it was granted official legal status.

Political and business leaders from across the North of England gathered in Liverpool for the first Transport for the North (TFN) Partnership Board meeting since it became a statutory body.

Transport for the North gained formal responsibility for driving forward long-term strategic transport projects and advising the Department for Transport from April 1. Mr Johnson, the minister for rail, called upon northern leaders to drive forward vital transport projects such as Northern Powerhouse Rail.

He said: "Between 2015 and 2020 the Government will have spent more than PS13bn - more than any other in history - to transform northern transport, boosting economic growth and unlocking the incredible potential of the great towns and cities of the North.

"Establishing Transport for the North is a crucial next step in giving the North greater influence than ever over transport investment. It is imperative the North now speaks with a strong, unified voice to identify where we can work together to transform journeys for people.

"Establishing Transport North is next step the North influence Jo Johnson "The fantastic progress on upgrades to Liverpool Lime Street, which will enable more trains every hour and direct services to Scotland, demonstrates our unwavering commitment to delivering the transport links the North needs.

"With significant new powers to drive forward transformative projects like Northern Powerhouse Rail and smart ticketing, I am confident TFN will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of northern transport."

Labour has expressed scepticism about Transport for the North, and argues what the region requires is better investment in services rather than a new body. …

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