Top North Yorkshire Tory welcomes scrapping of key part of HS2 project as a 'new era for Levelling Up'
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Conservative York & North Yorkshire mayoral candidate, Keane Duncan said the multi-billion pound high-speed rail project had turned into a "distraction".
And he praised Rishi Sunak's announcement that the Government would, instead, divert millions of pounds from HS2 into York and North Yorkshire’s transport infrastructure in a move described as a “turning point” for ‘Levelling Up’.
Keane Duncan said: “Today signals a new era for Levelling Up and a turnaround moment for the future of the North - the whole North.
“Rishi is changing politics and overturning decades of missed opportunities.
“No longer will one infrastructure project be allowed to distract from all others.
"No longer will the big cities forever dominate while more rural areas like ours miss out.
“HS2’s costs have soared and it’s suffered delay after delay - proving a distraction from the investment we really need in York & North Yorkshire.
“The decision to scrap it and divert millions of extra investment into more pressing improvements here represents a turning point for our region.”
“Rishi represents North Yorkshire. Like me, he believes in North Yorkshire.
"Together we are committed to delivering the road upgrades, rail links and bus services we desperately need and deserve - now, not in distant decades.”
Projects in North Yorkshire set to replace what would have been Europe's biggest infrastructure aimed at connecting the North of England to the capital of London with trains travelling up to 225mph include:
More miles of the A1237 Northern Outer Ring Road will be dualled under £36bn Network North plans announced on Wednesday.
Phase Two of the project will see the section from Wetherby Road to the A19 upgraded.
The Prime Minister also announced investment in Phase One of the A1237 dualling project from Clifton Moor to the A64, reopening Haxby Station, improvements to bus services and road resurfacing.
In scrapping a key part of HS2, Rishi Sunak said he would be reinvesting every single penny, £36 billion, into hundreds of transport projects in the North, Midlands, and across the country
But Conservative mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street this week disputed the claim that tens of billions could be reinvested in the short term by scrapping HS2.
He told political new website POLITICO on Tuesday that such claims would be "spin," as the cost of the Manchester leg of HS2 was largely not yet on government balance sheets.
He said money that can be reallocated “exists in long-term years, but it doesn’t exist in the current spending horizon.”
HS2 was first raised as an idea by the Labour government in January 2009 under Prime Minister Gordan Brown.
In 2012, Tory Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed work would start on the HS2 project, with a bill to do so introduced to Parliament the following year.
After worries over the costs, work began in 2017.
In 2019 the Government held another review into HS2 before Prime Minister Boris Johnson recommitted to the project in 2020.
When the Government first committed to HS2, the cost was put at £32 billion.
That has now risen to nearly £100 billion, according to some estimates.