Transport secretary Chris Grayling used his speech to the Conservative party conference to say it is full steam ahead on the Northern Powerhouse, announcing £100m for local roads and reaffirming that every train in the North will be replaced or refurbished by 2020.
Grayling said that details of the local roads schemes to get the funding go-ahead in order to reduce congestion will be announced in due course, as he ridiculed Labour for "cancelling and delaying as many road programmes as they opened". He also said former Labour Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott had never produced a new train for his city of Hull but under the Conservatives "they are now being built" and four times as many rail lines were being electrified in North West England alone than for the whole country under Labour in its 13 years.
He also announced plans to make good on his promise at last year's conference to "get rid of the paper ticket on our trains" with £80m to bring smart ticketing to the entire network by the end of next year. And he warned Labour would confiscate the assets of the private sector "like the government of Venezuela" in order to pay for re-nationalisation, made a robust defence of HS2 to Conservative activists, and said that the collapse of Monarch was not a sign of problems in the aviation sector.
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