Rail minister Jo Johnson has called on the North to speak with one “strong, unified voice” after attending Transport for the North’s (TfN) first meeting since it was legally established as England’s first sub-national transport body.
Backed by £260 million of government funding, TfN now has “unprecedented new powers”, as described by the Department for Transport, to drive forward long-term strategic transport projects and have its own proposals considered by government.
Jo Johnson said: “Establishing Transport for the North is a crucial next step in giving the North greater influence than ever over transport investment.
“With significant new powers to drive forward transformative projects like Northern Powerhouse Rail and smart ticketing, I am confident that TfN will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of northern transport.”
Speaking before the inaugural meeting on April 5, TfN CEO Barry White said: “This is an important moment for Transport for the North, and also an historic moment as England’s first sub-national transport body formally takes up its new powers.
“The board meets at a busy and exciting time for Transport for the North, with our consultation on the draft Strategic Transport Plan ongoing until 17 April, work to develop Northern Powerhouse Rail continuing, and delivery beginning for our Integrated and Smart Ticketing programme.
“This initial meeting will see the adoption of Transport for the North’s constitution and formal appointment of statutory officers, as well as the approval of a business plan and budget for 2018/19.”
Until now, TfN has been a partnership of elected representatives from local and combined authorities, alongside business representatives from Local Enterprise Partnerships and representatives from national transport agencies.