Preaching to the converted.as the NVA colonel said "That may be true, but it is also irrelevant"
i think the UK could benefit from large scale infrastructure links outwith London and if it's framed in purely economic terms it will die a death. if campaigners are savvy they'll start banging the carbon neutral drum in order to get the political support these projects will need.
there's very few people outwith the regions who will care about regional transport links (voters or politicians) but you'll find plenty of supporters across the country, and across different political parties, if you tell them you want to reduce the number of internal flights and single passenger car journeys we complete as a nation
The Northern Powerhouse could have been achieved by Mr Punch Drunk Prescott himself - they had the votes.
Osbourne could have done it too.
As I have posted earlier what could help to radically reduce costs in construction/re-building of UK rail is looking at the issue of OHLE clearances and reverting to the original BR clearances - it's not the fault of the EU, it is certainly the fault of the slack arrsed British CS who let it go through without any derogations, which we could have obtained on at least two counts.
Lowering bridge and tunnel clearances would save substantial sums of money - as an example, before the issue was discovered, GWML was in for around .8Bn, after attention was drawn to the issue of OHLE clearances, the price rose to 3.2Bn; @ugly could perhaps shed light on the true cost savings then again he is signals - another area of contretemps at the moment.
That the North need connectivity is undeniable and should be addressed as anyone who has ever driven the A66 would attest to.