Over the last couple of days there have been major announcements about the immediate future of transport in Leeds – £270 million investment over the next four years
– including £180 million investment in bus travel
– and new rail plans – which will involve a Park and Ride station on the Leeds/Harrogate line to link to Leeds/Bradford airport.
The proposals follow the release of the money promised by government for the rejected Trolley bus –which can now be spent on other transport projects.
They also follow a city-wide consultation process – we hope you took the chance to have your say.
The proposals are very welcome:
– Not only a parkway rail connection to Leeds Bradford Airport for the first time, but new rail stations at the White Rose Centre and Thorpe Park and improved accessibility at Cross Gates, Morley and Horsforth stations.
- Enhancing bus and park and ride provision is a key, with over £110m to be invested in a range of infrastructure improvements.
– This will be supported by £71m from First West Yorkshire to provide at least 284 new low-emissions buses by the end of 2021.
Currently 250,000 bus journeys are made every day in Leeds, and the measures outlined being part of an aim to double the numbers of bus passengers in the next 10 years.
But Leeds Labour Leader, Judith Blake, is in no doubt that they are only a first stage – ‘immediate and short term plans’.
She has vowed to continue to call for more funding for transport in the city and region.
“This investment in public transport and the new Leeds Transport Strategy is hugely important for us to make deliverable changes in order to make a big difference in the immediate and short term, especially as we need to have spent the £173.5m of government funding by 2021.
“The investment now is a response to the action people told us they wanted to see delivered as soon as possible.
“But as a city and for the regional economy we continue to need a viable mass transit system which benefits all communities in Leeds and will boost growth and onward connectivity.
Mass transit systems can cost around £80million per kilometre and take a long time to plan and deliver, so such a scheme was not possible with the current level of funding available and also the timescale the government set us.
“To bring about such a scheme must remain the ambition so we are calling on all key partners and everyone in the city to work together to secure the very significant amount of funding we need.”
The figures are huge – but Judith Blake reminds us of the national disparities of funding for such large-scale and necessary infrastructure.
“Funding levels for transport in London and the south continue to dwarf those offered to the north, so while we are delighted with this latest investment and are very grateful to all our partners, we know we must keep pushing for the ultimate aim of providing the fully integrated 21st century transport network Leeds and the wider city region needs and deserves.”
We’re confident that the Labour council will do just that.
You can see the city map showing the proposed £270m improvement proposals and the front cover of the Leeds Transport Strategy, here http://news.leeds.gov.uk/council-leader-well-keep-pushing-for-mass-transit-scheme-for-leeds/
And the new Leeds Transport Strategy and supporting documents here http://bit.ly/2h2YvBJ