The devolution of responsibility and funding for Rail Infrastructure to Wales would enable the creation of a rail network that could truly unite the country, says Plaid Cymru Assembly Member for Ynys Môn Rhun ap Iorwerth.
The Plaid Cymru Shadow Minister for Economy and Finance this week welcomed a report by Welsh Government outlining plans to have powers over rail infrastructure devolved to Wales – a move the Party of Wales have long since called for.
Statistics show that only 1% of all UK Government funding for improving railway infrastructure goes towards investments in the Welsh network, despite Wales being home to 11% of the total railway network.
The Plaid AM argued that investment to create a unifying rail network in the country would cost ‘small change’ compared to the £150bn being spent on some of the major rail infrastructure projects in England at present.
Mr ap Iorwerth said:
“I greatly welcome this report outlining the vision to take more responsibility for developing rail infrastructure. I welcome it because Plaid Cymru has been calling for this for many years. It reflects what we have been saying as well as the consensus that has now developed within the Senedd.
“We know that there has been significant underinvestment in Welsh railways from UK Government, that 1% of the funding available to improve the network in the UK has been spent in Wales, while 11% of the railways are here.
“I’m pleased to see the reference to opening the West Wales corridor, to investing from Amlwch, to Bangor, Caernarfon, linking up with Aberystwyth, reopening the Carmarthen line, down to Swansea. We have to have that ambition.
“People may say these are major investments, but look at the investment that’s happening in England right now. £56 billion is going to HS2, £30 billion going to Crossrail 2, £70 billion going to Transport for the North. We’re talking about small change here in order to create rail infrastructure that can unify us as a country – we must have the ability to invest in extending our railways.”