Good public transport has a transformative impact on communities.
It boosts local economies, helps protect the environment, makes people’s lives easier, and across much of Greater Manchester, we do it very well.
The work of our mayor Andy Burnham, to bring buses back into public ownership, and integrate transport systems across Greater Manchester through the Bee Network, is already having an impact.
But, too many areas are still being left behind, lacking the connections they need.
No where is this more apparent than in Stockport, which is why I’m proud to be backing the “Next Stop Stockport” campaign, to bring the Metrolink to the borough for the first time.
This isn’t an extravagant ask, or something that pushes the boat out, it is simple common sense.
It’s not new either, we’ve seen politicians of all stripes call for tram services to extend out to Stockport for several years, and it’s now time for us to roll our sleeves up, because the case is clear.
Whether it’s the support Metrolink will deliver to Stockport’s local economy by providing new jobs or opportunities for investment, opening new doors for business and boosting growth.
Whether the clear environmental impact of getting cars off our roads and reducing the already serious traffic issues around Stockport town centre, as well as improving facilities for pedestrians and cyclists.
Or the connectivity benefits for local residents, linking up Stockport with the rest of the network, including providing direct access to Manchester Airport.
Whilst the development of the project will not be without its challenges, the clear unity of support this has from across the political spectrum shows that there is the will to overcome those challenges.
I welcome the announcement from Andy Burnham that detailed plans on the case for bringing the Metrolink to Stockport will be published before the end of the year.
The ongoing work on the Transport Interchange, which is being built as “Metrolink ready” means than we are well placed to be able to deliver on the project at pace.
I will no longer have the privilege of representing Reddish, Heaton Chappel, and Heaton Norris, after the next election, as I stand as Labour’s candidate in the new Gorton and Denton constituency.
However for all the time I continue to represent Stockport residents, I will do all I can to ensure the borough can finally enjoy the long overdue benefits of the Metrolink system.