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New ‘Acceleration Unit’ launched for road and rail

Posted on 09 Sep 2020 and read 543 times
New ‘Acceleration Unit’ launched for road and railTransport Secretary Grant Shapps says rail and road upgrades that will create jobs, increase connectivity and boost the economy will be delivered more quickly, thanks to the launch of a new ‘Acceleration Unit’ that will see a new team of specialists joining the Department for Transport (DfT) in order to tackle delays to infrastructure projects and ‘drive forward progress for passengers’.

The unit, due to be in place this month, will be directly accountable to the Transport Secretary and be led by Darren Shirley, currently chief executive of the Campaign for Better Transport.

Alongside the Acceleration Unit, the Transport Secretary also announced a raft of ‘ambitious upgrades’ to Wales’s railways, with £343 million of investment to deliver better, faster and more reliable journeys for passengers.

These upgrades include: ‘kickstarting’ design work on plans to upgrade Cardiff Central station; funding to develop plans for upgraded digital signalling on the 241km Cambrian line from Shrewsbury Sutton Bridge Junction to Aberystwyth and Pwllheli; and proposals to speed up journeys between Cardiff and Swansea, Chester and Llandudno Junction, and the Severn Tunnel and Cardiff.

Mr Shapps said: “As Britain begins to get moving once again after four months of lockdown, no-one should underestimate the scale of the challenge ahead. We want to accelerate Britain’s recovery by investing in vital infrastructure that will help get businesses back on their feet, create jobs to replace those that have been lost and level up our country.

“The creation of our new Acceleration Unit and investment in our roads and railways will ensure we build back better, greener and faster in the future.”

Mr Shirley said: “I am delighted to take on this important new role, bringing a fresh perspective and external advice to accelerate the delivery of key infrastructure projects and programmes.

“The breadth and depth of expertise in my new team will stand us in a good stead as we look to deliver the schemes that will help the country to rebuild faster through decarbonising the transport system and levelling up Britain as we emerge from the Coronavirus crisis.”