In 2010, we began the massive task of upgrading and modernising transport across Britain by setting out a bold investment programme to provide the connections and capacity our economy needed to grow. Today, the delivery of that programme is in full swing, and as I reflect on the Department’s work since last year’s Parliamentary Review, I can look back on 12 months of unprecedented activity and achievement.
It began last autumn with another successful London International Shipping Week, hailed by our maritime industry as the best yet. Then in October we stepped in to repatriate 110,000 Monarch passengers affected by the airline’s failure. It was the biggest such operation in British peacetime history.
In November I announced a New Rail Strategy, including measures to end the operational divide between track and trains, strengthen the regional focus of the railway and reopen some of the routes axed during the 1960s and 1970s. Another key announcement was the £1.7 billion Transforming Cities Fund. City regions were invited to bid for funding to improve public transport and increase productivity. Among the beneficiaries so far are Liverpool, the West Midlands and Greater Manchester.
Excellent progress has been made extending and improving our transport infrastructure. We opened the Ordsall Chord rail link in Manchester, and we’re close to completing Crossrail and Thameslink. We continued to upgrade roads and motorways across the country. We started building HS2 and have awarded £7 billion of contracts for enabling work and civil infrastructure. And we launched the Year of the Engineer 2018, to promote careers in engineering and help recruit the next generation of transport workers.
Heathrow is a crucial project which will deliver the long-term hub capacity that we need to compete and grow. Progressing the scheme to this stage has been a huge effort by the Department – further evidence of our determination to build a resilient, reliable and robust transport network for the benefit of everyone in Britain