North East transport chiefs urge Chancellor to commit to upgrading the East Coast Main Line

The body responsible for transport in the North East has urged the Chancellor to commit to upgrading the East Coast Main Line when drawing up next month’s Budget.

Councillor Martin Gannon, Chair of the North East Joint Transport Committee and Leader of Gateshead Council, has written to Rishi Sunak MP seeking his support on transport priorities including rail, bus, Metro, cycle and infrastructure investment.

In his letter to the new Chancellor, who will deliver his first Budget on 11 March, Cllr Gannon said: “There is much to do in order to grow our region’s productivity, creating inclusive economic growth while tackling the climate change emergency and pollution in our towns and cities.

“We would like to work with you to level up investment in our region’s transport so that it can play its full role in delivering those objectives.”

Mr Gannon goes on to list the transport priorities he wants to bring to the Chancellor’s attention including;

  • A commitment to an East Coast Main Line infrastructure upgrade between Newcastle and York and funding to reinstate the Leamside Line to ensure our region is properly linked into the HS2 and Northern Powerhouse rail networks;
  • A commitment to upgrade our major links to the rest of the North and Scotland;
  • Fully support the region’s aspirations for an integrated bus network by providing us with funding to deliver affordable, green and modern bus services across our region;
  • Approval in full of the region’s £393m bid to the Transforming Cities Fund;
  • Confirmation of submission to DfT for funding to support the operation of the Tyne and Wear Metro;
  • £10.4m of revenue funding in the next financial year to develop business cases for major transport schemes;
  • Establish an infrastructure fund for the North East which will enable a rolling programme of up to £200m investment each year up until 2035.

Cllr Gannon added: “Our region has a strong track record of delivering what it has promised and so you can be sure that making investment available to us will lead to improved economic outcomes both for the North East and for the country as a whole.”