The next 20 years will see a string of major transport infrastructure projects taking shape in the region.
High speed rail will link Yorkshire south to London and possibly west to Manchester and Liverpool.
Trolleybus and tram trains will make their debuts in Sheffield and Leeds and the long overdue scheme to remodel the A63 through Hull will finally go-ahead.
But this region has suffered decades of under investment by Governments of all colours, the consequences of which are felt every day by commuters who must endure a transport system that quickly grinds to a halt at the first sign of problems.
And figures recently published by the IPPR North think-tank on planned transport spending suggests that trend is set to continue with Yorkshire getting £395 per head compared to London’s £3,095.
If they are serious about narrowing the economic imbalance between Yorkshire and the South, the winners of the election must commit to sustained investment in the region’s transport infrastructure.
Northern transport infrastructure is dated, poorly integrated and lacking the large-scale investment it needs.Ed Cox, director, IPPR North, March 2015
The Government’s announcement of a major package of road investment as part of December’s autumn statement was widely welcomed in the North but that quickly turned to cynicism when it became clear many of the schemes involved had long been in the pipeline.
Yorkshire is tired of promises of “jam tomorrow” on transport and wants to see a clear timetable for the delivery of road schemes already announced. The next Transport Secretary should also look favourably on crucial road improvements that so far remain unfunded, particularly the need to upgrade the A64 between York and the coast.
On the rails, recent announcements about the future of the northern and transpennine rail franchises were more ambitious than had been expected but they still fell a long way short of the integrated northern network with simple zonal ticketing that many passengers want to see. The next Government should continue to work with northern councils to turn that ambition into a reality.
The winner of the election should also confirm their support of HS2 and look to speed-up delivery to the North.
There are powerful arguments for building the Sheffield-to-Leeds section earlier so it can form part of an improved transpennine service dubbed HS3, which itself needs to move from a vague ambition to a costed scheme with a clear construction timetable.
Although often overlooked, buses remain the main form of public transport used by Yorkshire residents but are failing to meet the needs of passengers and the wider economy.
Bus de-regulation has not had the desired outcomes and the process for transport bodies who do want to exercise more control is bureaucratic and cumbersome.
Yorkshire’s transport bodies should be given the freedom to decide the best model for running services, including a London-style franchise system, so all communities are served, passengers get value for money and buses are integrated with other forms of transport.
The issue of whether a third runway should be built at Heathrow will return after the election but the next Government needs to set out a broader strategy for the role of smaller regional airports.
Yorkshire’s airports also suffer from poor transport links and while improvements are underway at Robin Hood and there is the promise of a new road to Leeds-Bradford there is still much untapped potential.
IN FULL: OUR YORKSHIRE MANIFESTO...