WEST Yorkshire has been short-changed in the Government’s transport vision for the future.
The man heading Metro in the county says the Government is simply not investing enough.
Metro Chairman James Lewis’ comments were a reaction to news that Government transport spending had fallen from £265 to £251 per head in Yorkshire and at the same time increased from £642 to £644 in London.
Metro is the West Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority (ITA) and West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (PTE) and works on behalf of the 2.1m people of West Yorkshire to coordinate public transport services.
Mr Lewis said: “While London as the capital needs to be treated as a special case, the continued focus of investment in infrastructure to support the future of the UK’s economy on one corner of the country goes against good sense in that it is unsustainable and against Government Policy given the coalition’s stated aim of rebalancing the national economy.
“We have been given the go-ahead and funding for much needed schemes such as the New Generation Trolleybus (NGT) network, new rail stations at Apperley Bridge and Kirkstall Forge, Leeds Station southern entrance and the essential maintenance needed to keep the Leeds inner ring road safe for use and we are pressing ahead.
However, Department for Transport backing in those schemes only represents a very recent and partial redress of an on-going spending shortfall.
“We have much wider, far-reaching ambitions for developing and integrating West Yorkshire’s bus, rail and road networks and to achieve this we need not only the investment, but also the flexibility and ability to raise funds locally rather than the continued legacy of under-spending that these new annual figures show continues.
“It is acknowledged that good transport links and connectivity underpin a region’s economic prosperity yet still we see this huge disparity between London and Yorkshire and between transport and other areas of public spending.
“If ministers want to re-balance the economy their thinking on transport spending is going to have to be a bit more even handed.”