One of the three tram extensions would involve tracks being laid to Long Eaton, with around six trams per hour, at an estimated cost of £115 million.
Another, at a cost of £375 million, would involve going from the yet-to-be-built HS2 station at Toton all the way to Derby.
A third would extend further from Long Eaton to Ratcliffe Power Station, which is expected to be redeveloped, and the employment hub at East Midlands Gateway, with an estimated price tag of £430 million.
The biggest project would see a new railway station at East Midlands airport, connected to Midland Mainline services, meaning people could go straight there from Nottingham or Derby. It is anticipated this will cost £820 million.
The Maid Marian line would also be reopened to passenger trains under the plans, meaning people could travel from Mansfield, Ilkeston and Langley Mill straight to the Toton station, instead of having to connect in Nottingham. The report estimates this would cost £85 million.
New, frequent, buses would also join the Toton station with West Bridgford and Clifton at a cost of £5 million – the lowest price of any of the 11 proposals.
Overall, the £2.7 billion transport plan launched today by Sir John Peace aims to help the Government in its ambition to ‘level up’ the East Midlands, recover economically from COVID-19, and make it easier for people to get the East Midlands HS2 hub at Toton.
For years, transport investment in the East Midlands has been significantly below the national average, and UK transport spending per head is currently the lowest in the country – more than four times lower than london, and less than half of what is spent in the North West.
In part as a result of transport investment being 49 percent below the UK average, productivity per head in the East Midlands is 23 percent lower than the UK average.
Support for the comprehensive transport strategy has already attracted relatively-rare consensus from political leaders of all colours across the East Midlands.
While comparatively low spending has caused problems historically, some argue it gives the Government opportunities for ‘easy wins’, with under investment giving avenue for higher returns on infrastructure investment.
The plan itself – which has now been presented to the Department for Transport – is broken down into three phases, with the first aiming to be completed and ready to use in 10 years.
At the top of the list for the first phase is the tram extension to Long Eaton.
The second and third phases – which include the other two tram extensions – are scheduled to be operational within 25 years.
While the £2.7 billion price tag may be hefty, the initial ask is more moderate.
Midlands Connect – which put the plan together – is calling for the Government to provide £4.5 million in funding to help develop detailed plans and costs for phase one by the end of next year.
Sir John Peace is the chairman of Midlands Connect and Midlands Engine.
Speaking ahead of the launch of the report, he said:“The arrival of High Speed Two is a watershed moment for our region, and an opportunity that we must grasp with both hands.
“As we work towards an economic renewal post-COVID-19, the East Midlands must step forward and work together to secure the transport network, economic future and social mobility it deserves.
“This truly integrated transport strategy isn’t just about connecting more people to the HS2 station; it will also support the building of new homes, accelerate transformational regeneration and link some of our most deprived communities to nationally-important assets across the East Midlands.
“It means spreading the benefits of high speed rail to businesses and workers across the region, from our great cities of Derby, Leicester and Nottingham, to bustling towns like Mansfield and Loughborough and smaller communities that may otherwise feel HS2 won’t benefit them.
“Our message to Westminster is clear – support us in making this vision a reality.”
Labour Councillor David Mellen is the leader of Nottingham City Council, and represents the Dales ward.
He said: “This transport plan will connect every corner of Nottingham to new housing developments, leisure facilities, jobs and of course, the high speed rail network at Toton.
“We’re passionate about sustainability in this city, and by moving these plans forward we can ensure that everyone, including our most deprived communities have access to a well-connected, green, transport network.”
Councillor Kay Cutts is the leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, and represents Radcliffe on Trent for the Conservatives, as well as being the chairwoman of the HS2 East Midlands Growth Board.
She said: “The arrival of High Speed Two in Nottinghamshire will bring with it widespread regeneration, development and highly-skilled jobs.
“This comprehensive plan ensures that communities in our towns and villages can access these opportunities, and that the benefits of this investment are spread far and wide.
“This isn’t just a transport project, it’s about securing a successful future for our people, promoting prosperity and social mobility for generations to come. We need to work alongside the Government to ensure that the East Midlands sees benefits as soon as possible.”