Funding earmarked to help deliver transport infrastructure in the North of England has been revealed as part of the Autumn Budget. In his speech to the House of Commons, Chancellor Philip Hammond confirmed £37 million of development funding will be made available for Northern Powerhouse Rail.
Transport for the North is preparing an initial, high level business case for Northern Powerhouse Rail, set to be submitted to Government by the end of this year. The confirmed funding allows momentum to continue and will support the next stage of planning and design work to deliver transformational investment in the North’s rail network.
Northern Powerhouse Rail is designed to deliver a step change in connectivity between the North’s major city regions by providing rapid and reliable rail travel. A mix of new and upgraded routes – as well as full integration with HS2 – would radically improve journey times and support economic growth.
Barry White, Chief Executive of Transport for the North, said: ‘This money covers what we had asked Government for to further develop Northern Powerhouse Rail during the next financial year as it moves closer to transforming lives in the North.
‘This is the biggest and most important rail project in the North of England for generations. This December we will be submitting a Strategic Outline Business Case to Government, which will outline the costs and shape of the network and how it will boost connectivity and the economy of the North.
‘The funding will allow us to further refine and develop this flagship programme, ensuring it delivers the economic returns it needs to as we progress towards a Full Business Case and spades in the ground in the mid-2020s.’
Prior to the Budget, it was also revealed that a £28.8 billion fund to upgrade and maintain motorways and major roads would be made available between 2020 and 2025. Transport for the North has been instrumental in developing the idea of a Major Road Network, which will open up opportunities for specific improvements to our key economic roads in local areas that don’t come under the remit of Highways England. We will continue to promote the priorities for investment for this fund across the North of England, and look forward to welcoming part of this investment to the North in the future.
Further announcements in the Budget include the rollout of a discount railcard for 26-30-year-olds, reducing fares by a third; £420 million for pothole and road repairs; as well as £90 million for smart transport technologies.