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Govt unveils regional infrastructure projects

Govt unveils regional infrastructure projects
The government has announced a host of regional infrastructure projects which will see capital spending increase by £3 billion from 2015.

In his speech to the House of Commons, chief secretary Danny Alexander explained how £100 billion would be invested between 2015 and 2020 to upgrade the road and rail networks. The move is designed to ensure that the UK can compete with countries from all over the world. The government is keen to improve all transport links across the nation which will incorporate a mixture of new and old schemes.

Britain's roads will see an investment of £28 billion by 2020/21 which includes £10 billion being spent on repair work. Ministers stated that more is going to be done to carry out feasibility studies at congestion hotspots, such as the A303 to the south-west, the A27 on the south coast and the A1 Newcastle-Gateshead Western bypass. Connectivity to Leeds-Bradford Airport will also be improved along with the trans-Pennine routes between Sheffield and Manchester.

There are set to be major changes to the rail network, most notably the introduction of High Speed 2. This new train line is set to significantly reduce journey times between London and the north of England with new stations being built in Leeds, Sheffield and in the east Midlands.

Transport minister Patrick McLoughlin recently announced that the projected cost of this development had been adjusted. It is expected to need almost £10 billion more than previously estimated which includes "contingency".

The overall cost of the development now stands at £42.6 billion up from the £33 billion that had been quoted in the past. The route will not be operational until 2026 (London to Birmingham) and then 2032 for the Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield line.

However, that is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the railways as the government will spend a separate £16 billion on maintaining and extending the current network. Between 2014 and 2019 projects such as increasing capacity on the East Coast Mainline, busy routes such as Sheffield to Leeds, and Crossrail will benefit from investment.

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Date: 28/06/2013 15:12:57

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