A senior Lincolnshire councillor has urged the Government to invest more in local rail services as Prime Minister Boris Johnson approved the controversial HS2 project.
Mr Johnson today (Tuesday) told MPs the more than £100 billion High Speed 2 between London, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester will go ahead.
Phase 1, which will travel between London and Birmingham, is hoped to be completed by 2031. The second stage, which includes an East Midlands Hub (a new station at Toton in Nottinghamshire), is set to be completed by 2040.
The announcement comes alongside a promise by the Government to spend an additional £5 billion on bus and cycle routes across the country.
The Government said the investment will result in more frequent services, simpler fares and new schemes.
Executive Councillor for Economic Development at Lincolnshire County Council Councillor Colin Davie said: “I welcome the government’s commitment to levelling up the country and their promise to make sure the Midlands and the North is well connected.
HS2 is the only shovel-ready project that will also deliver much needed new capacity on the West Coast, East Coast and Midland main lines too. Four railways for the price of one. Four lines with more seats and more trains, all contributing to our country's low carbon future. pic.twitter.com/7ZChW0QkYg
— HS2 Ltd (@HS2ltd) February 11, 2020
“We will have to wait and see if there are any long-term benefits to be gained for Lincolnshire’s economy from HS2 but we hope it may free up some capacity on the lines.
“However, it’s important that the government also invests in the East Coast Mainline and local rail, which will see the greatest benefits to the residents and businesses of the Greater Lincolnshire area.”
The national project has experienced a large amount of controversy, with the cost spiralling from £56 billion in 2015 to more than £100 billion since it was announced, while residents face losing their homes and campaigners fear for the future of areas of outstanding natural beauty affected.
Many have questioned whether the money would be better spent elsewhere.
Proponents, however, say the build will enhance national connectivity, increase capacity, and reduce travel time between key city hubs across the country.
SUBSCRIBE TO LOCAL DEMOCRACY WEEKLY, our exclusive email newsletter with highlights from coverage every week, as well as insights and analysis from our local democracy reporters.