GIVEN how the latest spending analysis by the IPPR North think-tank shows the extent to which transport spending in Yorkshire is lagging behind neighbouring regions like the North West, there will, inevitably, be some suspicion at reports that the Government is looking to extend the HS2 high-speed line from Manchester to Liverpool.
Yet, while the planning of the spur from the West Midlands to Sheffield and Leeds is certainly proving more problematical and controversial than the proposed line from Birmingham to the North West, the latest developments could be tentative recognition that Ministers do now recognise the economic importance of a high-speed line across the Pennines.
Time will tell – Transport Secretary Chris Grayling remains deeply mistrusted by commuters in this region, and with very good reason, because of myriad occasions when he has over-promised, under-delivered and, in doing so, appeared to put a second Crossrail scheme in London before all other considerations.
However, while the Government says it remains committed to extending HS2 from Birmingham to Leeds after recent reports to the contrary, The Yorkshire Post continues to believe that trans-Pennine upgrades do need to be brought forward if there’s any chance of the Northern Powerhouse policy agenda being fulfilled.
If the national economy is to become less London-centric, it should certainly be taking precedence over Crossrail 2 – an undertaking that Mr Grayling has still to provide. Perhaps he’d like to do so when he takes transport questions from MPs in Parliament today.