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Cumbria to get £278m of 'reallocated' HS2 funding

Cumbria has been allocated £278 million from funds originally intended for the HS2 project, according to an announcement by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
This investment is part of the £1.5 billion Network North initiative aimed at enhancing transport infrastructure in the North West of England.

Of the total sum, Westmorland and Furness Council will receive approximately £129 million, while Cumberland Council will be granted around £149 million.

Utilizing the Local Transport Fund, this money is intended to bolster transport links within smaller urban, town, and rural localities.

Sunak highlighted that this initiative exemplified "levelling up in action" and called for local leaders to play a proactive role in deploying the funds into critical transport initiatives within their communities.

The Department for Transport has indicated that from 2025, these funds can be applied to a range of projects including road construction, junction improvements, mass transit expansions, pothole repairs, enhancements to street lighting, congestion relief, and renovations to bus and train stations.

Councils will be obligated to disclose their specific project plans, and the government will provide guidelines to assist in the proposal development process.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper characterized this investment as "game-changing," and Lord Patrick McLoughlin of Transport for the North expressed approval, noting that localized decision-making tends to yield better outcomes for travelers.

Denise Rollo of Cumberland Council emphasized the intentions to develop thorough plans for judicious use of the funds, including potential projects that boost electric vehicle infrastructure and enhance road safety and lighting.

MP Simon Fell encouraged seizing this opportunity for significant transport improvements, mentioning specific projects in Westmorland and Furness, such as the Grizebeck bypass and upgrades to critical roads like the A590 and A595.

Westmorland and Furness Council has yet to provide a response to the funding announcement.

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