However, ministerial responsibilities have been realigned with some new challenges entering Mr Jones’s portfolio.
Andrew’s responsibilities now include sustainable travel, cycling, walking, transport as part of the Northern Powerhouse agenda, motoring agencies, road and vehicle safety and standards, buses and taxis, traffic management, smart ticketing and High Speed Rail 2 (HS2).
HS2 is the one of the largest engineering and capital projects ever expected to cost around £55billion.
Mr Jones commented:
I am really pleased to be staying at the Department for Transport and taking on new and exciting responsibilities.
It is a significant step taking on responsibility for HS2; probably the biggest capital project in Government. This is an exciting project which will see a huge injection of investment in our rail network.
Strategically, the UK’s rail network is behind those of our European and Asian competitors who have already invested extensively in high-speed rail. Also, the West Coast Main Line is forecast to reach capacity within 15 years. HS2 is the only option that provides enough capacity to meet this challenge.
HS2 has many other advantages; it is carbon neutral helping our air quality and evidence from high-speed rail abroad shows that it encourages what is called ‘modal shift’ getting freight particularly off our roads and motorways and on to the railways.
There are many other exciting opportunities in the portfolio. I am particularly interested in the sustainable transport section of the job. I am looking forward to working closely with local authorities to deliver a real step change in sustainable transport like cycling and walking.