The Government has said it will “level up” bus and rail transport infrastructure across the Midlands, the North and across England with £401 million in upgrades.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps outlined the plans as part of a virtual event hosted by think tank Policy Exchange.
The £317m will be used to to help fund the Transpennine route upgrades to boost punctuality, reliability and connectivity for passengers between York, Leeds and Manchester. There will be £69m in improvements to increase freight capacity between the Port of Southampton and the Midlands.
New stations at Marsh Barton in Exeter, as well as White Rose and Thorpe Park in Leeds will also be built with £15m from the New Stations Fund.
Shapps said: “Every part of the country, unleashed from the restraints of outdated public infrastructure, thereby matching the south-east’s productivity… well, that would make the UK the biggest economy in Europe by 2050.”
Shapps' speech follows on from £401m of investment for “faster, greener and more reliable rail services” and one week after the Government launched Great British Railways as the new public service body to own the tracks and direct train operators.
He added: “I know some people think demand for rail and bus travel will never fully recover.
“Videoconferencing, they argue, is now embedded as the way we do business. But I think that prediction will quickly be overtaken by reality, as our economy bounces back …
“A more productive economy is a busier one, creating new reasons to travel. It might not always be for the same reasons, or at the same times as before. But people need – and like – to travel.”
Shapps’ speech also pledged to get the basics right, with the bus strategy offering simpler fares, easier information and greener services, and more on-demand buses in rural areas.
Shapps' full speech is available to read here.