A NEW tram-train link across the district could be constructed as part of a plan to turn the north into an 'economic powerhouse' to rival London, it has been revealed.

A major report was unveiled today calling for up to £15 billion of investment in transport links across the north of England.

The report, called 'One North', was compiled by the cities of Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle, with input from Bradford Council and West Yorkshire transport authority Metro.

Chancellor George Osborne welcomed the plans, describing them as "affordable".

He said: "I'm ready to commit new money, new infrastructure, new transport and new science."

Mr Osborne said improving the economy of the north could add billions to the wealth of the nation and "rebalance" its over-reliance on the City, London and the South East.

If adopted, the 15-year investment plan would see a new tram-train link across the Bradford district, the extension of the managed motorway along more of the M62, the electrification of the Caldervale railway line and better links to Leeds-Bradford International Airport.

However, a proposed new £5 billion high-speed rail link across the Pennines looks likely to bypass Bradford, calling at Leeds, Sheffield, Newcastle and Hull instead.

The report says within Bradford, there is a need for a "north-south link such as a tram-train or similar", which could be developed by 2026.

It is understood that this would likely be a light-rail link between Bradford Forster Square station and the airport, first suggested some years ago, with a possible extension down to the Euroway Industrial Estate south of the city.

Much of the plan involves rail investment, as transport bosses seek to give people an alternative to the region's congestion-clogged roads.

Bradford Council's transport chief, Councillor Val Slater, welcomed Mr Osborne's commitment to the proposals.

She said: "It is an exciting time for transport. If we can bring this to fruition, it will hopefully make travel much easier in the region, particularly in West Yorkshire.

"It will help get people back on to public transport and ease congestion on the roads."

Councillor Peter Box, chairman of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, which runs Metro, said: "We have been lobbying hard for this for a very long time.

"We are glad that the Government has now listened to our exceptionally strong case to put the financial power in our hands to drive our ambitions in a way that could be truly transformational for local growth."