The Government has been taken to task over pumping an “embarrassment of riches” into the south while the A19 and other areas of the North East’s transport system flounders.
Grahame Morris, Labour MP for Easington, has spoken in the Houses of Parliament as he fights for action over the route to ensure the future of the region’s economy and safety of those who use the road.
The Government have yet to deliver on a proper investment strategy for this vital road.Grahame Morris
He is calling on the Department for Transport to carry out a review into why there are so many collisions on its dual carriageways through his constituency and the sections north and south of East Durham.
Our Safe A19 campaign is in support of that appeal and motion, with a petition to the department now signed by almost 1,200 people.
Traffic has been brought to a standstill at least half a dozen times in the last fortnight following collisions, with several involving a number of vehicles.
In his latest effort to push the Government for action, he said: “The A19 is one of the principal economic drivers - no pun intended - in my constituency.
“It is vital for the export-focused manufacturing businesses in my region, particularly Caterpillar, NSK Bearings, and - until it closes just before Christmas - the Walkers potato crisp factory.
“Many businesses are dependent on a functioning A19, which too often is left at a standstill for hours on end following multiple road accidents, which are almost a daily occurrence.
“The lack of investment, maintenance and upgrading of this vital economic highway is clearly holding back businesses in my constituency.
“The Government have yet to deliver on a proper investment strategy for this vital road.
“We need a Government with some foresight who seek to future-proof our infrastructure and support the development of our regional economy.
“The billions that, as colleagues have mentioned, are being ploughed into Crossrail in London, which already has an embarrassment of riches in terms of excellent public transport links, will see the capital pull further away from the regions, particularly the northern regions.”
He went on to say that while the plans to invest in a new railway station for Horden is good news, it needs to be backed up with a new fleet of trains and improvements at Seaham’s station.
Mr Morris has also suggested a congestion charge for use of busy airports such as Heathrow, to encourage use of Newcastle International and Durham Tees Valley, and has pledged to “never stop calling for the Metro to be extended” to his constituency.
He also heaped praise on the region’s “hidden gems” such as the Tommy and Marra statues, Castle Eden Dene and coastline, as well as its community of artists, but warned they will remain a secret unless investment is forthcoming.
Our Safe A19 petition can be signed via goo.gl/8WbEhe.