The announcement yesterday that funding options are being explored to fund Crossrail 2 has not been universally popular, with two prominent Mayors voicing their displeasure at the decision.
Both Transport Minister Chris Grayling and Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, voiced their support for this “essential” scheme that is expected to provide growth and jobs in the region for several decades.
Following on from the success of Crossrail 1, which will see the Elizabeth line alleviate transport issues in the city, Crossrail 2 is will connect the south east to London.
But, after Mr Grayling announced that he will work with Mr Khan “to develop plans that are as strong as possible, so that the public gets an affordable scheme,” the Mayors of Greater Manchester and the Liverpool City Region both rounded on the decision.
Andy Burnham suggested that the announcement last week that various electrification schemes of rail lines in the north was linked with the green light for the £30 billion Crossrail 2 scheme.
He accused the government of neglecting transport in the north, commenting: “With every day that passes, the promise of a Northern Powerhouse becomes ever more distant.
“People here have had to put up with substandard rail services for decades and will simply not accept that spending billions more on London is the country’s highest priority for transport.
“The time has passed where we can take these decisions lying down. I will be contacting fellow metro Mayors and Council Leaders across the north of England to consider how we best challenge this government’s continued neglect in the north together.”
Like Mr Burnham, Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram was unhappy with the decision to explore funding for Crossrail 2 – especially when it wasn’t in the Conservative manifesto – which did contain commitments to railway improvements in the north.
He said: “Today’s Crossrail 2 announcement from the Transport Secretary comes as a bit of a surprise given it wasn’t included in the Conservative Party manifesto.
“Rebalancing the UK economy was recognised in both major party manifestos in the general election but this cannot be achieved without the north receiving its fair slice of the transport cake.
“Sadly the juxtaposition of last week’s cancellation of northern rail electrification schemes and this week’s green light for Crossrail suggests it is just going to be business as usual from this government when it comes to transport investment.”