Andy McDonald, MP for Middlesbrough, says the announcement of the Governments Road Investment Strategy "only serves to confirm that David Cameron and his colleagues are totally out of touch when it comes to Tees Valley."
This announcement today pays scant regard to our transport needs. We have appalling congestion on the Tees Flyover which was recently exacerbated by the lengthy closure of Newport Bridge and it’s obvious that we need another road crossing of the Tees. As a sop, we are given improvements to the A19 between Norton and Wynyard.
That is all well and good but we need much more than the stated investment in such a short stretch of roadway. In addition to improvements to the A1, we also need the A19 upgrading to motorway status as well as improved east –west connections between the two major highways.
They simply do not comprehend the importance of our region to the nation’s economic prosperity both now and in the years ahead.
Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the Founder and Director of the 'Dual the A1 Campaign' and the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Berwick has personally pledged to “see the job through” following the Prime Minister's announcement of a £290m investment package to dual the A1 from Newcastle to Ellingham.
The £290m package includes the first 13 miles of road fully dualled, then 2 crawler lanes on the most stretches north of Ellingham and 3 major junction improvements, including the Holy Island turning.
The package of investment aims to reduce bottlenecks and improve road safety.
This is fantastic news for the North East and for every family who has suffered a loss on the road.
The Prime Minister has assured me that the work can start straight away.
The Dual the A1 campaign, and myself personally, hopefully as the member of parliament, will maintain the pressure for the A1 (north of Ellingham) to also be dualled so that the road from London to Edinburgh is 21st century road all of the way up.
Now we have managed to cross the starting line, I personally pledge to see the job through.
North East Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive, James Ramsbotham, has backed road upgrades across the North East, saying it will help the region deliver more to UK Plc.
“We welcome the announcements made ahead of the Autumn Statement, particularly the upgrades to the A1 North of Newcastle, A19 in Teesside and the feasibility studies announced for the A69 & A66.
“Successive Governments have failed to capitalise on the potential and huge capacity of increased development in the North of our region and upgrading this vital stretch of road will go some way to addressing that.
“North East business is driving forward growth and creating jobs and the estimated £900m plus of infrastructure announcements that have been approved for our region in the last 18 months is a necessary step change.
“However, it must not be forgotten that the North East is still a long way short of receiving the levels of infrastructure investment that will help to unlock further growth and job creation relative to other areas of the country. It is only by levelling the playing field in this way that we can be assured the private sector can reach its full potential in a region with enormous capacity for further growth.”
David Cameron has spoken about where the improvements to the A1 will be made. When asked why the dualling will not reach the Border, the Prime Minister said there will be improvements but they must consider value for money.
David Cameron says dualling the A1 will happen and that the money can be spent tomorrow. Our correspondent Dan Ashby challenged the Prime Minister on the decision and the fact the announcement has been made a few months before an election.
The Prime Minister, David Cameron has said that the North East will get the road infrastructure it needs to be a premier exporting region.
Motoring groups have welcomed the Government's road plans which they hope will end "the stop-start mess experienced over the last few decades".
AA president Edmund King said:
All road users are entitled to safe and uncongested national arteries.
We can no longer ignore the inadequate resources going into the mainstay of the UK transport system - our roads - which carry 86% of passenger journeys and more than 90% of freight.
RAC Foundation director Professor Stephen Glaister said:
This is not about concreting over the countryside with new roads but upgrading many existing routes which have been the source of misery to motorists for years if not decades. That the Government is investing money along whole lengths of roads and not just a mile or two here and there is to be welcomed.
Nick Clegg says the Government's £15 billionn funding for road improvements is a "big moment" for the UK that will help "rebalance" the economy.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast, the Deputy Prime Minister said:
The funding is there and I think it will really represent a big moment, that we're not just balancing the books, which of course is essential, but we're also rebalancing the economy as a whole so that all parts of the country can be connected with each other.
So we're not just rescuing the economy, which of course has been the central mission of this parliament, but also renewing it in the next parliament and beyond.
Michael Dugher MP, Labour’s shadow transport secretary, said:
This is just yet another re-announcement on promised road improvements.
The Government has 'announced' plans for road investment at least three times since 2013. And no additional money has been announced.
We know David Cameron’s record on infrastructure is one of all talk and no delivery. Infrastructure output has fallen significantly since May 2010 and less than a third of projects in the Government’s pipeline are actually classed as ‘in construction’.
If Ministers were as good at upgrading roads as they are at making announcements about upgrading roads, life would be considerably easier for Britain's hard-pressed motorists who have been consistently let down by this Government.
“I promised when I was in the North East that we would address this area’s economic needs for the future.
''Our long term economic plan means today we can invest £2.3 billion into the infrastructure in the North East and Yorkshire to improve, repair and expand our roads. This is all about investing in the Northern Powerhouse we are seeking to build.
“Our plans will transform some of the country’s most important strategic routes, will boost productivity and help the local economy of the North East.
“For years our roads have been neglected. Now that this government is fixing the economy, we can afford to invest properly in our roads – unlocking jobs and local growth by creating a road network that is fit for the 21st century.”