TUC sets out public transport investment plan

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Union leaders are calling for new investment to meet net zero targets, saying it would create high-quality jobs in transport and manufacturing.

The TUC set out an investment plan for public transport across England and Wales, arguing it would improve quality of life, and boost the economy.

The union organisation said its proposals fill a “gaping hole” in the Government’s recently published net zero strategy, which it claims fail to explain how it will achieve a shift away from car use.

The TUC said its plan would require an average of £9.9 billion in annual capital expenditure up to 2035.

Additional operating costs for expanded bus, tram and rail services would reach £18.8 billion a year by 2030, said its report.

A further 830,000 jobs would be created in manufacturing, construction, and infrastructure for buses and trams up to 2035, said the TUC.

General secretary Paul Nowak said: “Everyone knows that we have to cut carbon emissions and that switching to public transport is a big part of how do it.

“Investing in public transport will help us meet net zero targets and reduce the threat of catastrophic climate change, and it creates jobs throughout England and Wales, boosts the economy in every community, and improves everyone’s quality of life.

“Commuters will have faster and cheaper journeys to work. New connections will bring new businesses to places where people need economic opportunities.

“We will save lives with cleaner air, and we will reduce loneliness and isolation by making everyone better connected, wherever you live.

“With this report, we’ve done the work that Conservative ministers should have done with their empty and incompetent net zero strategy.”

Rail, Maritime and Transport union general secretary Mick Lynch said: “This is a welcome report that shows investing in public transport is not only vital for fighting climate change, but that it will deliver significant economic and social benefits for everyone.

“The Government, in league with private transport operators, are ideologically committed to securing the maximum profit for shareholders. This approach is leading to the managed decline of rail and bus services across the country.

“This report shows that there is an alternative where we can expand and invest in our transport infrastructure. This will create thousands of jobs in across every region of England and Wales, helping build strong local economies and at the same time, secure an environmentally sustainable future.

“It is therefore vital that bus and rail services all run as public service under a public ownership model which is free from profit hungry multimillion-pound private companies.”

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “The Government’s Transport Decarbonisation Plan is an ambitious and credible pathway to reducing transport emissions.

“We’ve electrified 800 miles of rail track in the last six years alone, remain committed to our Integrated Rail Plan and the construction of HS2 will support 29,000 jobs, drive business across the nation and bring transformational benefits to passengers and communities for generations to come.

“To encourage more people back on to buses we’ve allocated more than a billion pounds to improve services, and capped single tickets at £2 until the end of June.”

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