The Rail Minister has encouraged Transport for the North (TfN) to continue forward with important rail projects in the region.
Jo Johnson was speaking at the first meeting of leaders which discussed the way the “unprecedented” powers given to TfN will be used to drive forward infrastructure development.
It is the first TfN meeting since the news in November that the organisation would receive £260 million funding as part of the announcement of its establishment as the first sub-national transport body in England – giving even more power to make decisions on infrastructure and rail projects.
In a commitment to the Northern Powerhouse, the powers gave TfN legal powers which will help to transform transport in the north of England so that infrastructure is developed to drive economic growth, create jobs and boost skills.
Recent reports have revealed that spending per capita in the north is dwarfed by its counterparts down south, and this is something that needs to change, according to TfN.
And the Rail Minister said in his visit to Liverpool, that the north needs to use a “unified voice” to drive change for the region’s rail projects.
He said: “Between 2015 and 2020, the government will have spent over £13 billion – more than any other in history – to transform northern transport, boosting economic growth and unlocking the incredible potential of the great towns and cities of the north.
“Establishing Transport for the North is a crucial next step in giving the north greater influence than ever over transport investment.
“It is imperative that the north now speaks with a strong, unified voice to identify where we can work together to transform journeys for people.
“The fantastic progress on upgrades to Liverpool Lime Street, which will enable more trains every hour and direct services to Scotland, demonstrates our unwavering commitment to delivering the transport links the north needs.”