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"Mind the Gap": Newcastle Liberal Democrats reaction to Metro Budget shortfall

November 24, 2017 5:09 PM
MetroThe Liberal Democrats are awarning that the £337 million grant funding for Metro upgrades is likely to only cover the existing network, rather than any future extensions, and thst it raises further challenges given that transport is unlikely to be included in the North of Tyne devolution deal. Although the Government announcement is good news, there is still a long way to go to meet Tyneside's transport needs. NECA and Nexus will clearly need to "mind the gap".
Reacting to the Chancellor's Budget for the Tyne and Wear Metro, Newcastle's Opposition transport spokesman Cllr Greg Stone said:
"There has been cross-party work in Parliament in support of the campaign for the Metro upgrade and clearly it is very welcome that the Chancellor has agreed to provide a significant amount of investment towards the replacement of the ageing Metro cars. This was absolutely vital in order to avoid a scenario where services would have to be withdrawn as rolling stock becomes unserviceable.
"However, we hope it is not churlish to point out that Nexus and NECA had identified a need for £435m of funding for the total cost of the required upgrades, and we appear to be more than 20% adrift of this figure. On the face of it, this could result in a 22.5% reduction in the Metro fleet and service levels. As lead member for transport on NECA, we are calling on Nick Forbes and Nexus to identify how this funding shortfall is going to be met."