Boris Johnson’s government must confirm that HS2 will be fully built, including the eastern part of Yorkshire, West Midlands Mayor Andy Street has said.
Speaking ahead of the Conservatives’ conference in Manchester, where he is due to take part in a panel on the main stage, Mr Street said he expected the government to announce that the east step will be delayed. But Mr Street said it must be clear that the delay is temporary and that the entire high-speed line will eventually be built.
The Tory Mayor told Birmingham Live: ‘The bottom line is that we are still determined to do it, so it’s a delay. It’s totally different to do away with it.
READ MORE: Response to study showing Birmingham is a bad place to live
“This would mean that the route is protected and that planning for the rest of the network is done with the clear intention of eventually building the entire network.”
He said he was “reconciled” with the fact that a delay would be announced, adding: “I accept that the national financial situation is more difficult than it was, and you will therefore have to take it into account.
Mr Street said he expected the decision on the HS2 rail line to be included in the government’s integrated rail plan for the Midlands and North, which is expected to be released at the time of the spending review and of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Fall Budget, October 27. .
The mayor is pushing the government to approve a program called the Midlands Rail Hub, which includes service improvements between the East Midlands and the West Midlands. He said any delay from the eastern part of HS2 would make this project even more important:
“We need to focus on the east-west connectivity across the Midlands which can be created quickly and inexpensively with the Midlands Rail Hub, and this is also what I want to see in the integrated rail plan. For us locally, it is really important. “
Construction of the first phase of the HS2 high-speed rail line, connecting London to Birmingham, is underway. The line is also to run from Birmingham to Manchester via Crewe, with an eastern branch running from Birmingham to the East Midlands and Leeds. Trains would switch to the conventional track north of Leeds and continue to Newcastle.
But it has been widely reported that the eastern leg will be delayed or removed entirely. The cost of building the entire network is expected to be around £ 100 billion.
The Tory conference takes place this week, culminating with a speech by Boris Johnson on Wednesday.
Get the latest political news straight to your inbox via our daily newsletter.