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From Iain Donaldson, a Manchester Liberal Democrat Learn more

Political Perspective – putting rail travel back on track!

by Iain Donaldson on 16 December, 2010

England’s overstretched rail network has done well out of the spending review.

The figures on the detailed impact of the spending review compared to the last years of the Labour Government show that by 2013 we will spend more in real terms on improving rail services compared to the last year under Labour.

With the Lib Dems in Government, the capital budget for national road and rail projects will be 8% higher in real terms from 2011-2014 compared to 2008-2011.

But rail is the real winner, with a much bigger slice of the funding pie going to making train journeys better rather than doing work to motorways and trunk roads. Four times as much will be spent on rail compared to road from 2011-2014.

Under Labour, the proportion of capital funding for national transport projects going to rail had shrunk by 7% in its last three years in power. Motorway and trunk road projects took up a third of the budget.

Given the ageing train network and the need to give people good alternatives to the car the funding shift is a move in the right direction. Despite the economic mess Labour left us in, the spending tap isn’t being turned off for public transport. These figures show a positive picture, not the doom and gloom some painted.”

The Labour Government said all the right things about the need to improve public transport, but its actions didn’t follow its words. By the time they left office, they were spending less and less on track and signals, and more and more on blacktop. We need a green economic recovery.

With the Lib Dems in Government, the old diesel trains between Manchester and Liverpool and out to Bolton and Preston will finally be history. With track and signal improvements, we are going to get the faster journeys we’ve long been waiting for.