Think tank backs £15bn north of England transport plan

Thursday 5th March 2015

A think tank says the government should invest £15bn in a Transport for London-style body for the north of England to revitalise transport links.

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) said the proposed organisation, called Transport for the North (TfN), would take responsibility for rail, road, sea and air transport and decide priorities for infrastructure investment, franchising and ticketing.

Ed Cox, Director of IPPR North, said: “Northern transport infrastructure is dated, poorly integrated and lacking the large-scale investment it needs, but Transport for the North could be at the vanguard of a coherent economic plan that will fire up the northern powerhouse. Devolving transport powers and budget to the North will help transform the region’s growth prospects and rebalance the economy.”

Under its 10-year blueprint for TfN, the IPPR report recommends the appointment of a transport commissioner for the North, a move towards a contactless, cross-boundary ticketing system and improvements to rolling stock and stations, including plans to “do away with outdated Pacer trains”.

A spokesperson for the Treasury said: “Rebalancing the economy and creating a northern powerhouse of jobs, investment and prosperity is a key part of our long term economic plan. We have made great strides and already created Transport for the North to speak with one voice to government on the big decisions to benefit the entire region. It is crucial we work together to deliver a world-class transport network for the North that reduces journey times, increases capacity and connectivity and enables growth and that’s why we will be setting out our strategy for transport in the North in the next few weeks.”

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