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Barry White, Chief Executive at Transport for the North, has responded to this afternoon’s DfT announcement on road and rail funding:
He said: “Transport for the North welcomes this announcement by the Secretary of State today, given the clear need for a decisive response to the current crisis and the need to support people in moving about their essential business safely.
“The immediate task must be to equip our public transport infrastructure with everything it needs to facilitate the safe movement of people and have clear communications with passengers. This includes the key message to avoid using public transport wherever possible so that the limited space is available for those essential users. We are working closely with our partner authorities to feed local intelligence into the system and encourage people to use alternatives such as walking and cycling where possible.
“This investment announced for road and rail needs to support the country’s economic recovery and help level-up infrastructure so that our people and businesses can get around as they need to.
“Over 90% of our journeys are by road, whether this involves driving, walking, cycling or catching a bus. We welcome the investment in roads, especially to improve active travel provision during the pandemic. Inclusive and sustainable travel is one of our key objectives and this offers an opportunity for our partners to deliver at scale and pace.
“It is right that fast-tracked construction works are to be put in place to ensure networks get vital repairs while fewer passengers are using the transport system, and we are already working closely with Government on supporting the delivery of shovel-ready projects to help economic recovery. As Government and others have said it is now important that we lock-in the environmental benefits seen during lockdown, and measures to boost England’s charging infrastructure for electric vehicles over next decade will certainly help.
“As we move forward our Members have made clear that crystal clear communication and extreme caution will be the watchwords throughout this critical time as we head towards a new normal. “The package of measures announced today and others made recently should be seen as just the start of what needs to be a fully-funded move towards levelling-up our national transport network to provide the best possible chance of economic recovery while meeting ambitions around decarbonisation.”