Going Underground – Why the Conservatives Lost the West of England and Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Mayoral Elections

There mistake was the same, delaying surface transit improvements by pursuing impractical, expensive and undeliverable underground metro options.

In Cambridgeshire tunneling proposals delayed well worked up proposals by The Greater Cambridge Partnership to extend the Cambridge Busway.

Around Bristol we have a surface based metro proposal which has been dragging on for nearly 20 years phase one of which will, hold your breath, have one service an hour to Portishead. Alongside this there was diversionary proposals for an under ground system in the City Centre.

6 or 7 years ago the incoming conservative administration in Birmingham delayed proposals to extend tramlink through silly proposals to build an underground. Incoming West Midlands mayor Andy Street extended Metrolink and has advanced proposals to reopen several rail lines and build new stations. The kind of thing that can deliver over 1-2 terms. In West Yorkshire the City Deal which lead to the Mayoralty includes funding for a transit system, 40 years overdue, easily the largest conglomeration in Europe without one.

This illustrates that project management and expertise to deliver realistic public transport improvements are critical, and avoiding options which have a political payoff 30 years after you have left office.

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