Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

First Step in Creating a Rail Link for Our Future ; NEWS9 Sir Richard Leese MANCHESTER COUNCIL LEADER

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

First Step in Creating a Rail Link for Our Future ; NEWS9 Sir Richard Leese MANCHESTER COUNCIL LEADER

Article excerpt

YESTERDAY, the legislation needed (a hybrid Bill) to build and operate the first phase of the HS2 north-south railway between the West Midlands and London was laid in Parliament.

This might not mean much to the average person in the street but it is a significant moment for Manchester.

Manchester needs this new, modern railway network and we need phase one to go ahead on time so that we can get on with building the second phase to here and so that our economy doesn't get choked by lack of capacity.

The new stations at Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly will support regeneration activity generating 30,000 jobs around each location and the improved transport connections between here and the other big UK cities will help create many more.

Although HS2 is pivotal in carrying on the regeneration of our great city, other, earlier investment like the Northern Hub project will also free space for more local and inter-city services across the north. 'We can't rely on with a - in cases - rail that is more 150 years reaching terms of The benefits to Manchester from HS2 will begin to flow a soon as phase one of HS2 is completed, as our longdistance services use the space created in the most crowded part of the West Coast mainline. But we also need to be getting HS2 ready now so that we can reap the benefits of this huge infrastructure investment.

Spending on transport in the overcrowded south east is Pounds 2,371 per head, while it is only Pounds 178 here in the north west. HS2 will go some way towards correcting this regional imbalance.

Why is the hybrid Bill such a significant milestone? In the four years of its development, the project has been subject to a very healthy public debate about its merits.

This Bill will give MPs a chance to assess the proposals before granting the necessary powers needed to get on and build HS2.

It is vitally important that the Bill is passed in a timely fashion as this project is a much-needed engine for economic growth, it gets people moving around our island quicker, it will tackle the capacity crunch we're facing on our increasingly crowded railways and it will improve UK skills in the range of disciplines required to build the railway. …

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