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Cairns: Putting Welsh transport on track

Speech to the National Assembly for Wales.

"This motion stems from last week's transfer of functions to the First Minister, when grave concerns were highlighted about the way in which many railway policies are developed.

The purpose of this motion is to establish a committee to formulate a programme of costed and achievable improvements in rail infrastructure and passenger services, and to make recommendations to the Assembly on the improvements identified.

This follows the precedent established by the Welsh Assembly Government in setting up the Committee on Smoking in Public Places. It also follows the precedent established in setting up the Committee on School Funding and the Committee on the Inquiry into the E.coli Outbreaks in Wales.

There is no doubt that there are strong precedents for this policy, which has evolved in response to the failure of the Welsh Assembly Government to develop a policy for an integrated transport network with a particular focus on rail.

The Assembly has not delivered according to its agenda, and the two obvious examples that come to mind are the Ebbw Vale and the Vale of Glamorgan railway lines.

The Vale of Glamorgan line, at the outset, was to be the saviour of Cardiff international airport, because of the lack of an express road to the airport or a commitment of funding for that purpose.

However, I would not be breaking any secret in highlighting the lack of use of that line, and especially the minibus that goes from Rhoose station to the airport.

That clearly shows the Welsh Assembly Government's lack of vision, and its lack of commitment to railway services. It is always looking to do things on a smaller scale and on a tiny budget rather than take a genuine, strategic approach towards these services.

It is obvious that the vision of the Labour Party and of Jeff Cuthbert is to look back rather than forwards.

The whole purpose of this motion is to establish a committee to look forward because of failure by your administration and by the Minister to create a genuinely integrated transport policy.

Moving from the Vale of Glamorgan line to the Ebbw Vale line, let us not forget that it was promised that the latter, following the Corus closure, would be up and running by 2005.

Now, however, work is due to begin on the line in the spring of 2006, and trains to Cardiff are not expected to run on that line until 2007.

If there was ever a strong need for such a committee to look at railway policy and Assembly priorities and reconcile the priorities of Network Rail with those of the whole Assembly, and not just with those of the Welsh Assembly Government, then it is now.

I ask the Assembly to approve the motion that aims to reconcile the priorities of the Welsh Assembly Government with those of Network Rail, so that Network Rail is clear as to what we expect and demand and what we want delivered."

"Deillia'r cynnig hwn o'r trosglwyddiad swyddogaethau yr wythnos diwethaf i Brif Weinidog Cymru, pan amlygwyd pryderon dybryd am y modd y llunnir llawer o bolisïau'r rheilffyrdd.

Diben y cynnig hwn yw sefydlu pwyllgor i lunio rhaglen o welliannau i seilwaith y rheilffyrdd a gwasanaethau i deithwyr a'r rhai hyn yn gyraeddadwy ac wedi'u costio, a gwneud argymhellion i'r Cynulliad am y gwelliannau a ddynodwyd.

Mae hyn yn dilyn y cynsail a sefydlwyd gan Lywodraeth Cynulliad Cymru yn sefydlu'r Pwyllgor ar Ysmygu mewn Mannau Cyhoeddus. Mae hefyd yn dilyn y cynsail a sefydlwyd wrth sefydlu'r Pwyllgor ar Gyllid Ysgolion a'r Pwyllgor ar yr Ymchwiliad i'r Achosion E.coli yng Nghymru.

Nid oes unrhyw amheuaeth y ceir cynseiliau pendant i'r polisi hwn, polisi sydd wedi datblygu mewn ymateb i fethiant Llywodraeth Cynulliad Cymru i lunio polisi ar gyfer rhwydwaith trafnidiaeth integredig gyda ffocws penodol ar y rheilffyrdd.

Nid yw'r Cynulliad wedi cyflawni yn unol â'i agenda, a'r ddwy esiampl amlwg a ddaw i'r meddwl yw lein Glyn Ebwy a lein Bro Morgannwg. O'r dechrau, yr oedd lein Bro Morgannwg i fod yn waredwr i faes awyr rhyngwladol Caerdydd, oherwydd nad oes ffordd gyflym i'r maes awyr ac na chafwyd addewid o gyllid i'r diben hwnnw.

Fodd bynnag, ni fuaswn yn torri unrhyw gyfrinach yn tynnu sylw at y diffyg defnydd ar y lein hon, ac yn enwedig y bws mini sy'n teithio o orsaf y Rhws i'r maes awyr.

Dengys hyn yn glir ddiffyg gweledigaeth Llywodraeth Cynulliad Cymru, a'i diffyg ymrwymiad i wasanaethau'r rheilffyrdd. Mae bob amser yn ceisio gwneud pethau ar raddfa lai ac ar gyllideb bitw yn hytrach na gweithredu mewn dull strategol, gwirioneddol o safbwynt y gwasanaethau hyn.

Mae'n amlwg mai gweledigaeth y Blaid Lafur a Jeff Cuthbert yw edrych tuag at yn ôl yn hytrach na thuag at ymlaen.

Holl ddiben y cynnig hwn yw sefydlu pwyllgor i edrych ymlaen oherwydd methiant gan eich gweinyddiaeth a chan y Gweinidog i greu polisi trafnidiaeth gwirioneddol integredig.

Gan symud oddi wrth lein Bro Morgannwg i lein Glyn Ebwy, gadewch inni beidio ag anghofio yr addawyd y byddai'r olaf o'r ddwy, yn dilyn cau Corus, wedi ei sefydlu ac yn rhedeg erbyn 2005. Yn awr, fodd bynnag, mae'r gwaith i fod i ddechrau ar y lein yn ystod gwanwyn 2006, ac ni ddisgwylir i'r trenau i Gaerdydd redeg ar y lein hon tan 2007.

Os bu angen pendant erioed am bwyllgor o'r fath i edrych ar bolisïau'r rheilffyrdd a blaenoriaethau'r Cynulliad a chysoni blaenoriaethau Network Rail gyda blaenoriaethau'r Cynulliad cyfan, ac nid gyda blaenoriaethau Llywodraeth Cynulliad Cymru yn unig, dyma'r adeg honno.

Gofynnaf i'r Cynulliad gymeradwyo'r cynnig sy'n ymdrechu i gysoni blaenoriaethau Llywodraeth Cynulliad Cymru gyda blaenoriaethau Network Rail, fel bod Network Rail yn sicr o'r hyn a ddisgwyliwn ac a fynnwn a'r hyn yr ydym am ei weld yn cael ei gyflawni."

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