CARMARTHENSHIRE county councillors are calling for more investment in the public transport network to support residents in rural communities.
Members considered a notice of motion brought to full council today (Wednesday October 18) which supported the Swansea Bay Metro plan, but called for it to be extended further west to serve the Amman Valley and Carmarthen.
The motion, unanimously agreed by members, ‘recognises the importance of a modern, integrated public transport network in increasing the connectivity of communities across Carmarthenshire’, but calls for more investment.
Council agreed to support the principles laid out within the Swansea Bay Metro plan and has committed to engaging in any future discussions of a possible Metro system – in particular, advocating that any future proposal includes the Amman Valley and Carmarthen to ensure the benefits are felt by towns and villages across Carmarthenshire.
Referring to a recent decision by the UK government to scrap the planned electrification of the Great Western railway to Swansea, the motion said that only one per cent of Network Rail’s capital expenditure has been spent in Wales since 2011, despite Wales having 11 per cent of the total UK track network.
Council called on the Welsh Government to lobby Network Rail and the UK Government to increase its spend in Wales and to deliver a Metro system for Swansea Bay and the Western Valleys.
Cllr Kevin Madge, member for Garnant, said: “In my area we have people who are isolated as far as transport links. Most people can jump in their cars and drive around but a growing number of people can’t.”
Cllr Darren Price, member for Gorslas, added: “Powers for railway infrastructure have not been devolved to Welsh Government and that is a problem. People need to realise that there is a major underspend in Wales – in west Wales in particular – the only thing we can do is to lobby the UK government and Network Rail so that we get a fair share of expenditure.”
To watch the full debate and access the agenda documents about this discussion at Full Council, visit the council and democracy section of the council’s website –www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales