North Wales Assembly Member Mark Isherwood has called for the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Transport, Ken Skates AM, to work with the North Wales Growth Board in relation to transport connectivity with the rail network.
Mr Isherwood (pictured) made the plea when speaking in the Assembly Chamber following the Cabinet Secretary’s Statement on ‘Ambitions for Great Western and North Wales Main Lines’.
He said: “I endorse your Statement fully that if the UK Government makes the right choices on the Crewe hub, et cetera, then HS2 will have a significant economic benefit for North Wales. But, my question, given your reference in your statement to working with Growth Track 360 (*), which of course I also fully support, is why you've made no reference to the North Wales Growth Board, established to finalize the Growth Deal and manage its delivery once it's agreed with the two Governments? So, what work, in the context of transport connectivity with the rail network, are you undertaking directly with the Growth Board?”
The Cabinet Secretary had earlier claimed that the UK Government had “underinvested in our railway infrastructure to the tune of it being only 1 per cent of investment across the UK in the latest control period, in spite of the fact we've got 10 to 11 per cent of track miles”.
Responding to this Mr Isherwood added: “You referred to the 1 per cent expenditure. The Office of Rail and Road Annual Report on UK Rail Industry Financial Information, published last year, found that Wales actually receives 9.6 per cent of net UK Government funding for franchised train operations and Network Rail, and 6.4 per cent of total net UK Government funding for Network Rail routes, as submitted in evidence to the Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee after we highlighted similar concerns.”