The Welsh Liberal Democrats Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black has accused the new Conservative Government of letting down Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend as it emerged that the electrification of the main railway line may be delayed.
Mr. Black was responding to a statement by the new Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, who announced this afternoon that the government is going to delay or cut back a number of modernisation projects planned for Network Rail because rising costs and missed targets make the £38.5bn plan untenable.
According to the BBC, projects at most risk of being delayed are the electrification of the Great Western Railway to Swansea, as well as the electrification of the Midland Mainline. The electrification of the main line from London to Swansea was a legacy of the previous Coalition Government and was extended past Cardiff after a campaign by local business and politicians led by the then-Swansea Council leader, Chris Holley and the South Wales Evening Post.
“This news is tremendously disappointing,” said Mr. Black, “and is a huge blow to the South Wales West region I represent. This investment is very important in terms of improving transport links, creating jobs and attracting more businesses to Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend. I feel that the new Tory Government has badly let down local people and fear for the future of the project.
“It is my intention now to write to the Transport Secretary to seek assurances that his scaling back of these projects will not jeopardise the extension of electrification between Cardiff and Swansea and to seek a revised timetable so as to establish when we can expect the work that my Liberal Democrats colleagues in Government fought so hard for, to be completed.”