THE fact that the Tories intend to set aside £4.2bn “for local public transport” is further recognition of the infrastructure injustices that successive governments – Conservative and Labour – have presided over.
This announcement was another acknowledgment that improved transport links are integral to economic growth, a point that has been made repeatedly by The Yorkshire Post and other newspapers co-ordinating the Power Up The North campaign.
And many will welcome the fact that the party’s wishlist proposes a metro or light rail system for Leeds and other parts of West Yorkshire as well as improvements to Sheffield’s tram network, including a link to Stocksbridge.
However these are not official Government policy. The nine schemes are listed on a Tory party press release and it would be remiss not to point out the clear correlation between the locations of the proposed projects and the marginal seats that Boris Johnson must win in a week’s time if he is to secure a Commons majority.
And rather than cherry-picking policies – none of the projects appear to have been costed – for party political advantage, the Prime Minister, and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, should be committing the next government to devolving full financial and decision-making powers to Transport for the North, and other regional leaders, so decisions can be taken from a strategic standpoint.
The fact that they have not done so suggests that the North needs to maintain the political pressure if it is to receive fairer funding in the future when it comes to transport investment.