West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee Chair Cllr Keith Wakefield has added his concerns to those expressed today by the Campaign for Better Transport on the risks posed to ‘everyday transport’ by the Government’s Spending Review.
In the letter to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, groups including the Campaign for Better Transport warn that smaller, localised transport projects, that bring social and economic benefits to many more people, will lose out to large-scale attention-grabbing schemes as part of the Spending Review. The letter warns that schemes designed to encourage walking and cycling will face cuts alongside road maintenance and support for local bus and train services.
Cllr Wakefield said: “People and businesses across West Yorkshire and the City Region rely upon bus and train services, safer cycling and walking provision and local roads.
“Cuts to these critical local links through a reduction of up to 40% in the Department for Transport’s budget will undermine the growth to which we and the government are committed as part of the Northern Powerhouse.
“They could also lead to people and communities being cut off from vital local services and facilities and missing out on education, training and employment opportunities.
“The Combined Authority recently took the decision to extend half-fare bus and train travel to all 16 to 18 year-olds living in West Yorkshire from November to increase young people’s access to apprenticeships and training. But the local services need to be there for those young people to use.
Read about WYCA's plans to extend half-fare bus and train travel to 16 to 18 year-olds (opens in new window).
“Of course we need the major road and rail investment programmes that are protected in the Spending Review, although we’d like to see some firm commitments on the electrification of rail routes in the north. And the West Yorkshire Combined Authority has developed a transformational, 10-year package of Growth Deal transport investments costing around £1.4bn designed specifically to support and encourage maximum economic and employment growth.
Find out more about WYCA's Growth Deal transport projects (opens in new window).
“However, there is a danger that the investment in these high-profile schemes will be wasted if the local, everyday transport is neglected by the Government’s Spending Review.”
Letter to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, groups including the Campaign for Better Transport (opens in new window).