The North East Combined Authority (NECA) has expressed disappointment after being snubbed by the Treasury for regional transport funding, losing out on hundreds of millions of pounds.
The Government's levelling up agenda was dealt another blow after the chancellor ignored one of the most historically underfunded regions for transport cash in his recent pre-Spending Review funding announcements.
The Treasury described the area as one of the 'mainstays of our work to level up in England' and had originally said the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlements were eligible to the North East and seven other English city regions.
However, NECA, the only area to not have a directly elected mayor, missed out.
Meanwhile, all other seven city areas received major cash boosts: Greater Manchester (£1.07bn), West Yorkshire (£830m), South Yorkshire (£570m), West Midlands (£1.05bn), Tees Valley (£310m), West of England (£540m) and Liverpool City Region (£710m).
Cllr Martin Gannon, chair of the North East Joint Transport Committee, told Transport Network: 'It was very disappointing not to see the North East on the Government’s list of regions that will benefit from long-term transport settlements. We have a transformative transport plan that is supported by the whole region across both public and private sector. We urgently need funding so that we can start delivering on the plan.
'We have been in positive dialogue with the Government for some time and we now need this engagement to be speeded up.'
The rebuff is likely to be particularly painful for the North East as it has long been one of the most underfunded regions for transport in the country, even after the levelling up agenda.
In 2019-20, the region received one of the lowest amounts of public expenditure on transport per head, just £315 compared to an average of £497 per head for the UK, £882 in London and £521 across the South East.