Proper public transport is transformative to local communities.

Not just in terms of getting people from A to B, important though that is, but for the wider impact it has across society.

The environmental benefits are clear, getting cars off the road, getting people onto more efficient, quicker, and sustainable trains and busses.

The economic impact, of bringing people into our town centre, connecting different parts of our region, encouraging investment and job creation.

It is an absolute no-brainer, though one seemingly oblivious to the Conservative Party.

After 14 years of Tory rule, the best public transport in the north has got from Westminster are badly drawn lines on a map, masquerading as a “Network North” plan.

Here in Stockport this week, we showed Westminster how its done, with the opening of the fantastic new Stockport Interchange.

Delivered on time, and on budget, ready to make an immediate impact, it shows what proper joined up working can deliver when applied to infrastructure projects.

The initial regeneration work for the Interchange project was started under a Labour administration and has received vital support from our Labour Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham.

As Mayor Burnham has done, immense credit and tribute must also be given to the late Sir Bob Kerslake, who played a central role in the delivery of this project.

Through his role of chair of the Mayoral Development Corporation, the project will be a lasting part of Bob’s legacy, and his immense contribution to Stockport and Greater Manchester.

With 18 bus stands allowing for 164 departures per hour, the Interchange it well placed to have an immediate impact, but the growth of our public transport infrastructure need not stop here.

I am very pleased to have heard commitments from Mayor Burnham to work alongside Stockport Council to deliver Metrolink to the town centre.

The “Next Stop Stockport” campaign, which I have been a keen champion of, will be another significant boost to the town, and help properly link up Stockport with the rest of Greater Manchester.

This project should be a go-to example of how public transport infrastructure doesn’t have to be a burden and thrown out in a mess, like the absolute dog’s dinner the Tories made of HS2.

To borrow a much maligned phrase, Stockport Interchange really is “Levelling-Up” in action.

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