High speed rail should be extended to Liverpool, funded by an innovative ‘local payback mechanism’, a new report says.
The report – Ticket to Ride by think tank ResPublica – says that without good transport links to the rest of the country, the potential for Liverpool City Region to drive economic growth at a local, regional and national level ‘could well be squandered’.
It advocates connecting the city region into the north-south high speed rail spine, and then on to Manchester and further east as part of the proposed trans-Northern high speed line dubbed HS3.
HS2 is not currently planned to reach Liverpool
The report says Liverpool City Region could finance up to two thirds of the cost of this extension locally, by retaining business rates and employers’ National Insurance contributions.
It says: ‘The route plans currently being proposed encompass only limited linkages beyond favoured locales, risking the creation of further economic divisions between those cities which are directly connected to HS2 via dedicated high speed track and those which are not.’
Senior local MPs, including Commons Transport Committee chair Louise Ellman and shadow business secretary Angela Eagle, backed the report.
Ms Ellman, MP for Liverpool Riverside, said: ‘Liverpool must benefit fully from the important national investment in HS2. These proposals are well thought out and must be seriously considered.’
Robert Hough, chair of Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership said: ‘This report makes a strong economic case for Liverpool to have a direct High Speed Rail connection through HS2 and HS3.
'The Liverpool City Region has a vital role to play in rebalancing and bolstering the national economy and this connection is fundamental to sustaining the business and employment growth seen here in recent years.
‘High Speed Rail is also a significant move towards the integration of Northern cities and the realisation of the Northern Powerhouse vision.’