Transport for the North's (TfN) chief executive has stressed its ambition is to transform transport infrastructure across the whole region, following suggestions the Northern Powerhouse is 'M62-centric'.
TfN boss David Brown told Transport Network: ‘Transport for the North has been set up to transform transport infrastructure across the whole of the North, not just one part of it. The business community and the Local Enterprise Partnerships in the North East are strongly represented within Transport for the North and put their case across very clearly.
TfN chief executive David Brown
‘One of our key aims is to reduce journey times for east-west journeys and provide better links between the North’s economic centres, one of which is the North East city region.'
Mr Brown’s comments followed a warning from Stephen Marshall, newly elected chairman of the Civil Engineering Contractors’ Association (CECA) in the North East, that Road development in that part of the North could become ‘a fringe on the M62-centric Northern Powerhouse’, failing to secure the infrastructure the area needs.
In response, TfN highlighted a list of plans for the North East, including:
- decreasing train travel times between Leeds and Newcastle by nearly half an hour to just 60 minutes
- exploring options for a new Northern trans-Pennine dual carriageway along the route of the A66/A685 and/or the A69
- facilitating the faster movement of freight and logistics by improving links to Northern ports (including Teesport and Tyne Port),
- improving international connectivity by making it quicker and easier to get to the region’s international airports, including Newcastle and Durham Tees Valley
Mr Brown said TfN’s ambitions complement work already being undertaken in the North East, including the upgrade of the A1(M) and the A19 and the introduction of new Intercity Express trains on the East Coast mainline.
He pointed out that TfN also has staff based in the North East, who he said were working closely with partners in the North East Combined Authority and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership to link TfN’s pan-regional improvements into the local transport infrastructure.