News that the A689 Corridor Improvement project has progressed to stage two of the Major Roads Network fund has been welcomed by Stockton North MP, Alex Cunningham.
However the MP, who wrote a supporting statement for the bid, also called for the Government to do more in terms of ensuring the Tees Valley has the infrastructure it needs to grow beyond the cycle of Government department bidding rounds and the promise of the chance of funding.
The joint bid by Hartlepool and Stockton Borough Councils will now receive £780,000 from the Department for Transport to develop an Outline Business Plan which, if successful, could see the £26.75m project become reality. The corridor improvements would reduce journey times and increase capacity on the road.
This is welcome news and a significant step for the A689 project which, if carried out, will create a number of economic benefits for the wider Tees Valley region. I hope the development of an Outline Business Case will result in the project getting the green light and the funding it needs.
However, if the Tees Valley is to grow then we need the Government to provide real investment – not just the promise of potential funding and endless rounds of bidding cycles, but funding given through the Combined Authority to ensure important projects like these are not dependent on the whim of bid assessors.