Grahame Morris MP

Member of Parliament for Easington

MP demands further investment in North East transport infrastructure

January 18, 2017 Blog 0

This Government has let down Northern communities by neglecting to invest sufficiently into transport infrastructure.

All nine of the top funded transport schemes identified in the National Infrastructure Plan disproportionately fund projects outside of the North East. These include the Thameslink programme (estimated cost of £6.5 bn) and the High Speed 2 (42 bn). The nine schemes referred to in 2011 represent a £75 billion investment in the strategic infrastructure of the country, primarily the south. But despite large amounts of public money being spent on their planning they are yet to generate any direct benefit. Beginning their formal planning as far back as 2002, none of the 2011 schemes have yet been completed and five are yet to even start construction.

This is worrying as not only are the Government promising very little investment into the North, but they are not fulfilling their promises outside of the region.

The region’s leading business organisation, the North East England Chamber of Commerce, has compiled its latest Transport Survey Report from views of its sizeable membership, which says the region’s road network, the East Coast Mainline and access to ports and airports must all be overhauled if the economy is to reach its full potential.

The key priorities identified by the report include the swift completion of upgrades to the A1 and A19, as well improved access to Newcastle International Airport.

Running from Teesside to the south of the region through East Durham, Sunderland, South Tyneside and North Tyneside, the A19 is crucial for transporting people and goods through the region.

Despite that, the road is far from fit for purposes in places, with difficult junctions, congestion issues and high accident rates. It is abundantly clear the the North East’s roads are neglected when compared to the Government’s transportation spending in the South East of the country.

As I said to The Chronicle,  I don’t think we’re getting our fair share of resources. There is a great deal of work to be done. Yes the A19 needs to be improved, along with a lot of transport in the region, the North East is a backwater in terms of investment. Parts of the A19 that go through my constituency need vast improvements, there are safety concerns and issues with capacity.

We need a commitment, a cast iron commitment, for transport investment.