David Ford MLA for South Antrim, has given a cautious welcome to the Railway Task Force Report published last week, but said “it was only the first step towards a quality public transport system for N.I.
David Ford said:
“I welcome the publication of the Task Force report, since it gives clear indication of the benefits of a quality railway system. Of course, the terms of reference given to the Task Force precluded it for giving a really positive indication of how the system could be enhanced”.
“That is why I give cautious welcome to the report. The real test lies ahead, when Ministers will have to make the necessary funding available”
“I have tabled an Assembly question to Mr. Gregory Campbell, the current Minister for Regional Development, asking him what steps he is taking to obtain extra funds for N.I. A large increase in funding for public transport in GB has recently been announced by Mr. John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, but we have not been given any indication of similar funds for N.I”.
“I know that many people in the area support the efforts I have made over the last nine years to have the Bleach Green line reopened while commuter services are maintained on the Crumlin line”.
“It is essential, if we are to reach our targets to cut environmental pollution that public transport is significantly enhanced. This is particularly important for the Belfast commuter zone, which now extends well beyond Antrim and Ballyclare”.
“The congestion which is now experienced throughout Newtownabbey and on the M2 every morning and evening cannot be dealt with by road building. The Railway Task Force is a useful step to improving public transport, but there is still much to be done”.