Thursday, March 08, 2007

CBI Manifesto ignores the train solution

Interesting to see the CBI manifesto call for the Assembly to monitor the effect of any new Welsh legislation, given that I actually highlighted this the previous day in my Western Mail column.

Some of the CBi's issues will not please the Assembly Government, especially their concern over public sector growth in Wales, which both Andrew Davies and Rhodri Morgan remain in denial about.

I also note with interest their transport manifesto, which again focuses on roads. Certainly we need a better mix of transport schemes in Wales, and I am surprised that no one has picked up on Professor Stuart Cole's call for an upgrading of the North-South rail line, which could cut the journey between Bangor and Cardiff to just 3 hrs 15 mins.

The cost - £120 Million - sounds a lot, but not when you put this in the context of the £6 billion which the Assembly Government will spend on economic development and transport during the next four years (and that is excluding the new European Convergence Funds). It would certainly cut the journey from Wrexham to Newport by over an hour, ensuring that the link between North and South wales could be achieved in around 80-90 minutes, and closing the divide between the two parts of our nation

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