Department for Transport
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£1bn to accelerate key transport projects

£1bn to accelerate key transport projects

DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT News Release (180) issued by COI News Distribution Service. 25 November 2008

An extra £1 billion will be invested in major transport projects next year to stimulate the economy by accelerating Government plans to cut congestion and significantly increase rail capacity, Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon confirmed today.

This includes the £700m fiscal stimulus announced in yesterday's Pre-Budget Report to make the most of Britain's rail and road networks, as well as £300m of new Government funding to speed up the delivery of improved transport links to key UK airports and ports. They will also offer more environmentally-friendly options for transporting freight.

Geoff Hoon said:

"I want people and business to be able to choose how and when they travel and to do so reliably, comfortably and safely. I therefore remain committed to tackling the problems of congestion and crowding, while at the same time reducing transport-related greenhouse gas emissions.

"Congestion, whether it is on our roads or railways, is not just a nuisance to travellers, it is also a tax on the productivity of our businesses, and if left unchecked could become a brake on growth. That is why I am today accelerating plans to make better use of Britain's motorways and why I am also earmarking a further £300 million to remove bottlenecks and increase capacity on road links to key airports and ports.

"Our railways are more important than ever - more people are travelling on our trains and more freight is transported by rail. We have already pledged £10bn to increasing rail capacity, and as part of this promised to deliver 1300 new carriages by March 2014. Today's announcement will allow us to provide 200 of these earlier than previously planned."

The £700m fiscal stimulus announced in yesterday's Pre-Budget Report will deliver three key transport milestones, including:

* The delivery of 200 new carriages earlier than originally expected for rail passengers in the Thames Valley, around Bristol and on longer distance inter-urban services in Northern England;

* The acceleration of work to make better use of our motorways, following detailed examination earlier this year into the feasibility of introducing hard-shoulder running on around 500 lane miles of Britain's motorways. In the New Year we will announce on which motorways we are able to open the hard-shoulder to traffic.

* Work could now start next year, two years early, on providing a new fast link between the A1 and M1 by dualling the missing section of A46 from Newark to Widmerpool, subject to the outcome of statutory processes and funding confirmation from the Region. This could enable the scheme to open to traffic in late 2011 - rather than in 2016 as previously planned.

As well as this, the Government has earmarked £300m to improve access routes to some of our key international gateways - airports and ports - subject to co-funding also being made available by regional and other partners. These include:

* Up to £165m dedicated to creating a new road link between Manchester Airport and the A6 to the east. This would provide better access to and from the UK's fourth largest airport for the 21 million passengers who use it each year, and support the continued development of this key economic asset for the North of England

* An extra £54m to help enhance the North London rail line to increase the long-term freight capacity of this vital cross-London rail route. The full package of improvements, delivered by Network Rail and building on investment by TfL, will restore four tracks from Dalston Junction to west of Camden Road, alleviate current bottlenecks, improve signalling and other infrastructure in order to provide new capacity for freight and rail trains.

* Up to £60m will be invested in introducing new traffic management measures to improve safety, reduce delays and tackle congestion along 54 miles of the A12 - the main road link and a key freight route from London through Essex and Suffolk to the Felixstowe and Harwich Ports - some of the UK's busiest ports.

* Up to £30m will be available to help improve access on the A160/A180 to Immingham Port on the River Humber. This will ensure that the right infrastructure is in place to ensure the long-term future of the UK's largest freight port.

The schemes announced today form part of a longer-term approach to transport planning outlined by the Government in October last year, in response to the Eddington Study and Stern Review. Delivering a Sustainable Transport System, published today, explains how the Government is putting its approach into action.

Notes to Editors

1. Some schemes are subject to reaching final funding agreements with the relevant regional partners and on completion of the statutory planning processes.

2. The Government's commitment to increasing capacity on the rail network from 2009 to 2014 was set out in the July 2007 Rail White Paper.

3. Delivering a Sustainable Transport System has been published today and is available at http://www.dft.gov.uk/about/strategy/transportstrategy/dasts

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Department for Transport Website: http://www.dft.gov.uk

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