Transport for the North – real progress or jam tomorrow?

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A new management body called Transport for the North (TfN) has been set up to manage and administer transport projects for the north of England. The major force behind it has been the Chancellor, George Osborne who has been making a range of promises for transport across the UK ahead of next month’s General Election. Where many of these promises are probably empty words designed to win a few votes, in setting up TfN these promises may well be carried out, albeit not to as great an extent as the electioneering Chancellor would have you believe…


What is TfN?


Transport for the North is a management body made up of leaders from major metropolitan centres in the North. It doesn’t cover all the major cities – Teesside is notable in its omission from the team, as is Carlisle and the whole of Northumberland.


The idea is to manage all modes of land transport by building new railway lines (such as HS3) and roads, while upgrading existing routes where there is congestion such as the M62 between Leeds and Manchester.


If all the proposed upgrades and new links that are currently under consideration then upwards of £88bn would be invested in infrastructure across the region in the coming years. In theory Leeds and Sheffield would be then part of a greater metropolitan area to include Manchester and Liverpool. Together these cities would be an economic powerhouse to compete with London…


Local networks by local people


If there is one thing history has told us about grand plans, it is that locals know more about what they need than some stuffed shirt from London. Northerners are already