Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram welcomes high-level backing for Crossrail for the North

Chairman of the independent National Infrastructure Commission Lord Andrew Adonis said high-speed rail line linking Northern cities was a key infrastructure project the Government needed to action. Tony McDonough reports

Investment is high-speed rail is essential for economic growth, says Lord Adonis

 

Crossrail for the North needs to be on the the top investment priorities for the new Government, says the chairman of the independent National Infrastructure Commission.

Lord Andrew Adonis has laid the key infrastructure projects he believes can boost the UK economy.

And his support for a high-speed rail link – HS3 – connecting Liverpool and Manchester and other cities of the North was welcomed by Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram.

Triple-backing

Backed by three business organisations – the CBI, the British Chambers of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses – Lord Adonis identified 12 essential projects.

These also included HS2, new electricity generating capacity, digital and broadband roll-out and a third runway for Heathrow.

Manifesto pledge

HS3 was a key manifesto pledge for the Steve Rotheram and has been a major priority for the city region.

Lord Adonis’s recommendation comes after both major parties pledged to support the project during the recent General Election campaign.

“There is now a growing recognition that this is a project with national significance and value that is at least as important as HS2 and the Heathrow third runway,” said the Metro Mayor.

“Quite simply it is absolutely key to the Northern Powerhouse vision and the compelling need to rebalance the UK economy.”

Joint effort

Mr Rotheram recently joined forces with his opposite number in Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, to champion the project.

But he also emphasised the overwhelming case for starting the project in Liverpool with an initial phase connecting the city to Manchester and Manchester Airport.

He added: “Of course I want to see this project delivered in its entirety, but we should start where we can get the biggest and best value for money return.

Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram, left, with Greater Manchester counterpart Andy Burnham

 

“Linking Liverpool to Manchester would be by far the easiest and most economically viable phase and would have the added benefit of also connecting our city region to HS2.

“This would integrate North-South and West-East high speed networks and provide much needed additional freight capacity to support the growth of the Port of Liverpool.”

No delays

Lord Adonis called on the Government to ensure that Brexit and a hung parliament do not delay or defer infrastructure projects which are critical to the UK’s competitiveness and productivity.

He said: “Britain’s historic weakness has been to underinvest in infrastructure, and to adopt a stop:go approach even where decisions are taken in principle.

“Nothing symbolises this more than the long-running saga of Heathrow Airport. A third runway was agreed in principle 14 years ago but there has still not been a firm decision to proceed.

“There’s no point saying Britain is open to the world if you can’t get to and from the rest of the world because Heathrow is full.”

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