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UTG: New deal on urban rail funding and devolution needed

The Urban Transport Group (UTG) has warned a new deal on funding and devolution of rail services is needed to keep UK cities moving forward.

A report by the group, released today, claims that rail investment is not keeping pace with the need for “modern, high capacity and reliable rail networks” and, on top of greater investment, greater devolution of responsibilities for urban rail is required.

Further devolution of rail services, greater funding for buses, and reform of taxi and private hire vehicle legislation are three key parts of the new deal recommended by the organisation that represents the UK’s largest city region transport authorities.

The Policy Futures for Urban Transport report, published on the eve of autumn party conferences season, set out 10 policy changes it says are key to making “healthier, fairer and more prosperous” cities.

As well as the above, the policy changes include a strategy to encourage more cycling and walking, a long-term investment plan for urban rail services, and a national policy framework for air quality.

Tobyn Hughes, managing director of Nexus and chair of the Urban Transport Group, said: “Cities are the key drivers of the UK economy – yet not enough has been invested in the urban transport networks that support those economies.

“We need a new deal on funding and powers which recognise the exceptional benefits urban transport offers, from supporting jobs and boosting economic growth, to improving air quality and tackling climate change.”

The UTG will be present at each of the major party conferences this autumn in order to present the report to politicians.

Jonathan Bray, director of Urban Transport Group, said that urban transport is currently “underfunded” and “short-termist.”

He added: “We need to overhaul this current approach if we are to truly realise the benefits better urban transport can bring. We look forward to working in partnership with government to make our vision a reality.”

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Image credit - lightkey


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