Ring road or rail investment?

Pledges to dual the ring road from Julian Sturdy and James Alexander sound like a re-run of the 2011 York Outer election campaign. David Cameron could hardly say during his recent visit that he wouldn’t consider an appeal to consider the issue from the local Conservative MP.

However both parties remain silent on the latest bid to electrify and improve the Leeds-Harrogate-York rail line which has a cost benefit ratio nearly double that estimated for dualling the ring road, and a price tag two-thirds that of the road project.

Dualling the ring road was front page news in The Press on Friday, the rail bid page 14 the next day. Ever since the government cross party SACTRA report in 1994, it has been accepted that building more road capacity ‘generates’ more traffic. The future success and sustainability of York depends on investment in public transport – even the Tram-Train idea for the Harrogate line would cost less than dualling the ring road with a better cost benefit ratio and more long term benefits for citizens of York, our economy and the planet.

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