All aboard Bristol’s Underground

Building on the success of securing £424 million for clean energy through City Leap, creating another 1,000 new jobs, I’m at COP27 this week banging the drum for Bristol again. It’s only by engaging internationally that we can continue to unlock the transformational investment that Bristol needs. That’s how we can build the modern infrastructure that Bristolians deserve.

As we continue to make the case for a low-carbon mass transit system, and move towards a West of England Combined Authority consultation, I’m sharing the first two initial studies in full.

The first report is by CH2M and Steer Davies Gleave. The second, by Jacobs and Steer, is an early phase options report.

Mayor Marvin Rees (right) stands at a lectern. Bright lights can be seen in the darkened hall.

I previously shared the executive summaries in an earlier blog, and said in my State of the City Address last month:

“We have continued the work to build a mass transit system that will transform the way we move around the city region. The economic and geological assessment work has been done. We are about to commit a further £15 million with our neighbours to take this work to the next stage.

“Overground and underground networks are fast, efficient, low carbon transport systems. They are essential for a modern, crowded city. Bristolians have waited long enough.

“There cannot be any U-turns, no shying away from the challenge of delivery for those who come next, be they Bristol councillors or the combined authority.

“We know what needs to happen. It’s now there for you to complete it.”

These two expert studies are clear as day. A mass transit, with underground elements, is deliverable for Bristol.

That’s not to say that there won’t be challenges. There are for every major project that’s ever been delivered.

We cannot turn back the clocks to the decades of non-delivery. Bristol’s first new train station is due to open this year at Portway, with more on the way. And we’ve secured £95 million to upgrade Temple Meads and unlock Temple Quarter.

The negative voices we hear at full council must be contradicted. It was even suggested in the chamber this week that cities like Paris don’t need mass transit because everyone can just cycle everywhere. Bonne chance! Parisians have the space for more choice of infrastructure above ground, precisely because they have sixteen metro lines with over 300 stations, as well as the five RER lines and eight lines of Trainsilien trains.

I invite everyone to read these studies. There can then be no excuse for continuing to talk down our city and its ambitions. With the work already done and the next phase in progress, there can be no excuse for failure.