Kickstarting transport schemes ‘would bring 20,000 jobs to North’

Some 200 schemes to improve public and private transport across the North would create up to 20,000 jobs and deliver a £3 return for every £1 spent, the Government will be told today.

Barry White, boss of Transport for the North.

Council and business leaders will unveil their plans to “rebuild and transform” the region by launching a campaign to fund a £5bn package of road and rail projects over the next few years.

The so-called “Northern Infrastructure Pipeline” would see contactless “smart ticketing” systems installed at all rail stations and improvements to the terminus at Leeds, traditionally one of the most crowded in the country.

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Long-awaited road schemes at Dawson’s Corner in Leeds, and at Kex Gill, between Harrogate and Skipton, will be prioritised as part of the proposals drawn up by Transport for the North.

It is the second time in a year the organisation has pressed Whitehall to support the plans. Last August, it called on the Government to commit to a “Northern Budget” to finance the list of projects – some 60 of which it says can be delivered within 18 months and about another 100 within four years. A further list outlines 33 more projects that will take longer.

Peter Molyneux, Transport for the North’s major roads director, said the urgency of rebuilding after the virtual paralysis during the lockdown had increased the impetus.

“It’s the same party as last year but it’s a different Government and a different set of priorities,” he told The Yorkshire Post.

“There are now clear policy statements about levelling up the country and investing in the North. So this updated message is being published in a far more positive environment and we are hoping that it will be welcomed with quick decisions.”

Barry White, Transport for the North’s chief executive, said the plans were “already in the system” but were dependent on “the starting gun firing or a bit of work to nudge them across the line”. He added: “We believe that will not only deliver an economic prize, to the tune of 20,000 jobs and a return of £3 for every £1 spent but, more importantly, a social return.”