Labour secures big win for Britain in key European transport plan

27 July 2005

Labour MEPs have secured a big win for Britain in a crucial vote in the European Parliament on European transport networks - with new European cash to become available for key road and rail projects.

Euro MPs voted to increase the share of cross-border project costs from the TENs budget - Trans European Network funding - from 10% to 20%, with the budget now at 1000 Million Euros (about £670 million at current exchange rates). 
Despite an intense battle, as 10 new member states look for European help to modernise their infrastructure, Labour has kept EU backing for plans to:

  • Modernise the West Coast main line railway

  • Develop the Channel Tunnel high speed rail link

  • Improve the road systems that link Ireland, to the UK and on to the Benelux countries.

But Labour also secured new European backing as priority projects for:

  • New rail links from Felixstowe to Nuneaton on the West Coast main line;

  • New investment in the Crewe to Holyhead rail line; and

  • Improvements in the Liverpool to Hull road and rail corridor.

Labour"s Mark Watts MEP, transport spokesperson in the European Parliament, said: 
"Labour has been working hard for Britain and that is why we have won this big victory today. The Labour team has delivered in what has been very tough competition. 
"Now each of these key projects can get half of their feasibility costs paid for by the EU, and one pound of every ten of the actual capital costs of the modernisation project can also be EU funded. 

"There are only 29 priority projects for the whole of the EU, so to win one fifth of them for Britain is a big achievement. "It means we could get funding up to €1,000 million from the EU to boost the modernisation of our transport network - a massive amount of money in anybody"s terms. 

"Of course, more than just the priority projects can get funding from the Trans-European Networks pot. Almost all of our major road and rail network and all ports continue to be eligible for TENs."

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