North East transport link revamp gets the go-ahead

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Metro train
Image caption,
The chancellor said £500m would be spent refurbishing some of the North East's transport links

The government has confirmed it will spend millions of pounds on modernising transport links in the North East of England.

Chancellor George Osborne said £500m would be spent revamping the Tyne and Wear Metro and Tees Valley bus network.

He said it was part of four year plan to invest £30bn on transport projects.

After the announcement, business secretary Vince Cable, revealed plans to bring a train carriage factory to County Durham could still go ahead.

Hitachi was provisionally awarded a £7.5bn state contract to build express train carriages, with Newton Aycliffe as its preferred location.

Speaking to BBC Look North, Mr Cable said although the plans were not mentioned in the chancellor's speech, it was currently under government review and a decision would be made in the next few weeks.

Owners of Tyne and Wear Metro, Nexus, and co-ordinators of the Tees Valley Bus Network Improvement project welcomed the chancellor's announcement.

Bernard Garner, director general of Nexus, said: "It is good news that the Chancellor has again affirmed funding for the modernisation and operation of the Tyne and Wear Metro over the coming decade, recognising the system's huge benefit to the economy.

"Investment in Metro not only benefits passengers and the economy by making sure people can travel easily for work, education and leisure, it is also money coming into the region which will secure hundreds of jobs in transport, construction and engineering."

Tees Valley Unlimited is running the planned bus improvement scheme in Teesside.

Sandy Anderson, chairman of Tees Valley Unlimited, said: "The chancellor's confirmation that the £57.6m allocated for the Tees Valley Bus Network Improvement Programme is secure is great news.

"This scheme is a key part of the overall package of improvements planned for the public transport network across Tees Valley and will make travelling by bus a much simpler, quicker and cost-effective option for commuters."

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