INVESTMENT in transport infrastructure is critical to the economic development of the region, says Sunderland’s council leader.
Councillor Paul Watson is backing the NEvolution campaign, which brings together North East firms – including the Echo – to urge Chancellor George Osborne to hand the region greater power in a forthcoming spending review.
“By devolving transport powers to the North East, we would boost trade routes, connectivity and regeneration of towns and cities, improving access to, from and across the North East.
“In Sunderland, the planned River Wear bridge, the redevelopment of Sunderland railway station and new roads to link the port of Sunderland to the city will benefit businesses and residents alike across the North East.
“The city is well served by road, close to both the A19 and A1, but we need to improve traffic flow, cross-city traffic routes, and links by river and rail.
“Our ambition is to grow both the manufacturing base and the commercial heart of the city, and therefore trade routes are particularly important to us.
“We are a key exporting city – Nissan is the region’s biggest exporting company – and we have to strengthen the transport network infrastructure to boost these trade routes. This means investment across all forms of transport to unblock bottlenecks, and encourage businesses to locate in our city and region.”