Civic Leaders has reiterated their strong support for the HS2 high speed rail network.
They have stressed the importance of the project to the future prosperity of the city region following publication of a KPMG report which suggested that there could be widely different scenarios about the financial impact of HS2 on Liverpool and the City Region.
At a recent HS2 Board meeting held in Liverpool, Council and business leaders reiterated their support for the project.
The Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said: “As Chair of the Liverpool City Region Cabinet, the importance of HS2 is absolutely critical to future economic prosperity of the region, and indeed the North of England. It represents a unique opportunity to stimulate transport development in the region, bring benefits to existing network and transform our infrastructure beyond recognition.
“I remain committed in my support for HS2. Along with public and private sector leaders from across the Liverpool City Region, I see it as a way to even bigger and better things for us, helping bridge the economic gap between north and south in the process. It’s not just about HS2 itself, but the additional transport development it will stimulate and the benefits it will bring to existing networks.”
“The recent meeting we held with the HS2 Ltd. Board was extremely positive and I’m confident they left with a clearer understanding of what we want HS2 to help deliver. We want a direct high-speed line into the city so the rail network can deal with the huge projected increase in freight from Superport and we want to cement the city region as an international gateway for people and goods.”
Councillor Liam Robinson, Chair of Merseytravel, supported this view and highlighted how committed the Liverpool City Region is behind this key project.
“We know that the Superport expansion plans project massive increases in freight coming to Liverpool by 2030. The plans for HS2, and especially a direct high-speed line into the City, are essential to complement the ambitions of the City Region and to ensure the rail network has sufficient freight capacity.
“Liverpool is one of the UK’s main freight hubs and it would be nothing short of disaster if we adopted a short-sighted approach and failed to recognise the long term implications and the benefits the project will provide.
“The next steps are exciting and this is where the real work starts. We have agreed with HS2 to put in place an integrated delivery team for the City Region to look at how we can maximise the benefit of HS2.
“We will be looking at the key issues, such as options for expanding Lime Street to cope with longer trains and looking at ensuring the right level of investment in the local rail system to maximise the link in with HS2. There will also be some joint work with the rail industry to make sure that there will be sufficient freight capacity.
“We’re pushing to get the City Region the best deal. That’s what the people of Merseyside would expect from us.”