High Speed 2 Minister Nusrat Ghani, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and regional leaders have joined forces to back the new £56 billion railway.
At a High Speed Rail Industry Leaders conference in June, they said the route must be completed and integrated with Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) to achieve the maximum benefits.
The conference focused on the importance of HS2’s second phases, and how it would integrate with regional transport networks such as NPR and the Midlands Rail Hub.
Opening the event, HSRIL Director Isabel Coman said: “We need to keep momentum going for HS2, now more than ever. The project has its naysayers, but their comments quite often suggest a misunderstanding of the project and the vast opportunity it presents.
“We need to continue to fight for this project until the very first train rolls off, and keep on educating and spreading the message on just how transformational it will be for Britain - particularly in the North and Midlands, where their economies’ future growth is dependent on HS2’s completion.”
Burnham made the case for continued investment in rail infrastructure, saying: “The North of England needs to be at the front of the queue for infrastructure spending for the next 25 years. After generations of chronic underinvestment, some still expect us to have to choose between HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail. Why can’t we have both?"
Ghani said HS2 will deliver up to 30,000 jobs during its construction and said: “We are also clear that the North needs both of these projects - it is not either/or. The full benefits of NPR rely on HS2.”
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