Tories cannot be trusted on transport for the North East

October 6, 2009 12:12 PM

Lib Dem parliamentary spokesman for Newcastle East Greg Stone has expressed concern over the future of proposed transport improvements for Tyne and Wear should the Conservatives be elected.

At the Tory conference, their transport spokesman Stephen Hammond - a London MP - warned that all major capital transport funding projects, including existing commitments, would be subject to review under a Tory government.

He warned that this could include the £300m investment in the Tyne and Wear Metro system, despite the fact that the region has already proved the business case to Government in terms of value for money and helping to tackle growing road congestion.

The party is also retreating on leader David Cameron's pledge that there was a "good chance" that improvements would be delivered to the A1 Western Bypass and dualling in Northumberland, and has said that it does not plan to build a high speed rail link beyond Leeds.

Greg Stone, a member of the Tyne and Wear Integrated Transport Authority, said "The Tories have at last shown their true face on this issue, despite the risible claims of local Conservatives to be campaigners for transport improvements. In Northumberland their spokeswoman has posed as a champion of A1 dualling, yet her party's leaders have firmly distanced themselves from this call. In Newcastle, the chairman of the local Conservatives has called for extension of the Metro, yet now their leaders are putting the planned major upgrade of the system in jeopardy.

"In terms of Newcastle East, I am particularly concerned that this announcement may put improvements to the A1058 Coast Road and A19 junction at Silverlink in jeopardy, and the failure to agree upgrades to the A1 Western Bypass and Metro system will affect the whole of the Tyneside area. Quite clearly, the Conservatives cannot be trusted on transport and are not committed to meeting the needs of the North East."