Stephen Williams MP - working hard for Bristol West

Stephen Williams MP slams short-sighted government thinking on Portishead rail line

1.21.21pm GMT Thu 9th Nov 2006

Gatwick Express train - front & length shot


Stephen Williams, Liberal Democrat MP for Bristol West, this week raised questions in Parliament over the government's decision to fund the freight train line between Portishead and Bristol while refusing to invest in a similar route for passenger trains.

Portishead is currently one of the fastest growing towns in the country and many of its residents commute into Bristol every day, adding to the city's congestion problems. However, instead of tackling this problem, the government subsidised the rail link for the importing of more cars.

First Great Western have commented that their franchise binds them to maintaining existing services, and does not extend to lobbying government for passenger network expansion.

Mr. Williams said: "It is absurd that the government is expanding its freight network, ironically, in this case, to import cars, at enormous expense to the taxpayer, while refusing to use the funds to improve passenger rail services. This is an extremely short-sighted decision. The government claims to be taking climate change seriously, yet when it comes to a choice between pleasing motorists and creating a greener and commuter-friendly public transport service, those who want to leave their cars at home always seem to lose out. Bristol's chronic congestion problems will only get worse while this government continues to ignore the possible role of suburban rail as a solution."

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Previous news story: Stephen Williams MP praises Bristol reading charity (Thu 9th Nov 2006).
Next news story: Stephen Williams MP takes a stand against BIA expansion (Fri 10th Nov 2006).

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