Britain’s transport systems are broken. Liberal Democrats will meet this challenge by investing in public transport, placing a far higher priority on encouraging walking and cycling, and accelerating the transition to ultra-low-emission transport through taxation, subsidy and regulation.
We will freeze rail fares for commuters and season ticket holders for a parliament. We will extend Britain’s rail network, improve stations, reopen smaller stations and restore twin-track lines to major routes. We will convert the rail network to ultra-low-emission technology (electric or hydrogen) by 2035, and provide funding for light rail and trams. We will create a new Railways Agency to oversee the operations of the railway network, and start a revolution in rail franchising by opening up the bidding process to public sector companies, local or combined authorities, not-for-profits and mutuals.
We will support High Speed 2, Northern Powerhouse Rail, East-West Rail and Crossrail 2, but ensure far tighter financial controls and increased accountability to ensure that these projects are value for money. We will address problems with implementation to ensure that HS2 opens as early as possible to meet our decarbonisation goals while minimising the destruction of precious UK habitats and woodland.
We will reduce the climate impact of flying by reforming the taxation of international flights to focus on those who fly the most, while reducing costs for those who take one or two international return flights per year. We will place a moratorium on the development of new runways (net) in the UK, opposing any expansion of Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted and any new airport in the Thames Estuary, and introducing a zero-carbon fuels blending requirement for domestic flights.
We will restore bus routes and add new routes where there is local need, providing £4.5 billion over five years for this programme.
We will support the creation of dedicated safe cycling lanes, increasing spending per head five-fold to reach 10 per cent of the transport budget.