GEORGE Osborne has agreed to explore a rail link to Leeds-Bradford Airport, after pressure from an MP.
The Chancellor said any worked-up proposal would be considered after talks that also included Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin.
A delighted Stuart Andrew, the Conservative MP for Pudsey, said: “They are definitely interested in what I had to say and could understand the points I was making.
“The Chancellor said he would have a look at the idea once the connectivity study that is being carried out is done, so I will keep the pressure on.”
Meanwhile, William Hague delivered another boost to the campaign, when the former Foreign Secretary told the Commons it was “an issue that cannot be ignored”.
Mr Andrew sought the meeting amid growing criticism that the airport in Yeadon has worse transport links than other regional airports.
Passengers must use slow roads, yet it is more than a decade since an aviation White Paper stated expansion should only go ahead with access improvements.
Local transport chiefs have put forward a £94 million plan to electrify the Leeds to Harrogate line, increasing frequency to four trains each hour.
The idea is for a spur off that line, near Horsforth, to the airport - with the potential for direct trains to Bradford in the future.
Mr Andrew said: “We are talking about an international airport that is served only by road, forcing people to drive through residential areas, causing disruption.
“There is also talk of a link road, to create a shortcut from the M62 through to the A1, but I don’t think that will really help.
“A rail link would be more expensive than a road, but it definitely offers the better solution.
“And this is the right time, because we know the Government wants more investment in the north and is ready to put its money where its mouth is.”
Mr Osborne has said he is ready to fund viable transport proposals as part of his plans to for a ‘Northern Powerhouse’ of better-connected cities across the Pennines.
The Chancellor plans to make the idea a centrepiece of his ‘mini Budget’ in December, with only months until next May’s general election.
Mr Andrew also raised the issue in the Commons yesterday, prompting Mr Hague, the Commons Leader, to say: “The area was identified last year as one of the six long-standing road congestion hot spots.
“The Department for Transport was asked to take forward a study into connectivity to Leeds Bradford international airport.
“The Government will have to look at the conclusions of that report and announce a way forward. This is an issue that cannot be ignored in the Leeds-Bradford area.”