North West to receive £1.7 billion in transport funding in levelling up budget

The North West is set to receive £1.7 billion in transport funding when the Chancellor announces his budget next week.

The money will be allocated to projects in Greater Manchester and the Liverpool City Region for sustainable transport settlements, upgrading trains and stations and expanding the tram network.

Greater Manchester will receive £1.07 billion for projects including cutting-edge carriages on the trams, while the Liverpool City Region will receive £710 million for projects including battery packs for Merseyrail trains to extend its network.

What is the money for:

Greater Manchester

  • Next generation Metrolink tram-train vehicles

  • New bus corridors and interchanges in Ashton-Under-Lyne and Bury.

  • Creating a 140-mile active travel network across Greater Manchester

Liverpool City Region

  • Battery packs for new Merseyrail trains to expand the reach of the existing network

  • New and rejuvenated stations in Liverpool and Runcorn

  • A multimodal interchange in St Helens to link housing, employment and developable land

Andy Burnham says investment an 'important first step' Credit: PA

The investment will be seen as a win for Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham, who has been heavily lobbying the government to hand over the cash for his region to launch a London-style transport system.

Labour’s Mr Burnham had called for £1 billion and put pressure on ministers during the Tory Party conference in Manchester earlier this month.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, had been lobbying for an investment in transport links in his city.Credit: PA

He had said that handing over the money for him to introduce his London-style Bee Network would make political sense for the government, because Boris Johnson could blame him if it failed and take credit if it succeeded.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said: “Great cities need great transport and that is why we’re investing billions to improve connections in our city regions as we level up opportunities across the country.

“There is no reason why somebody working in the North and Midlands should have to wait several times longer for their bus or train to arrive in the morning compared to a commuter in the capital.

“This transport revolution will help redress that imbalance as we modernise our local transport networks so they are fit for our great cities and those people who live and work in them.”

Merseyrail has recently invested in new trains for its network.

The Spending Review will also include a new, dedicated £1.2 billion programme to improve infrastructure, fares and services outside of London. Places will be selected in the coming months to benefit from this investment.

This funding will deliver integrated fares and ticketing, so that bus users can enjoy simpler, cheaper fares like those enjoyed already by passengers in London.

As well as additional services across the weekdays, weekends and evenings, and ambitious new bus priority measures to speed up journeys on busy roads.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We’re absolutely committed to building back better and boosting regional economies right across the country, and these investments are a clear example of how we’re doing that.

“Modernising our transport network sits at the heart of our levelling up agenda. This funding will serve as a catalyst for the regeneration of towns and cities by improving infrastructure and ensuring more people have better access to jobs and education.”