Better connecting the Sheffield City Region is the final piece of the jigsaw in a new vision designed to make the project a success.
According to ‘A Better Future Together’, launched last week, the region has the potential to become a ‘hinge-point’ for the movement of people and goods across the UK.
This would improve job opportunities and skills, education opportunities and health and wellbeing.
But it is key, according to the report, to improve both physical and virtual connections between people and places in a region that has been ‘falling behind’ in terms of infrastructure development.
“There are key decisions to be taken nationally about the future of HS2, HS3 and the road network that are critical to our future development,” the report says.
“Equally important is the progress of digital connectivity and the transport networks within the region.
“Sheffield City Region also needs to be alert to the possibilities of new supporting technologies, leading innovation where appropriate.”
The report prioritises early resolution of national schemes such as HS2, which has been a political sticking point in the devolution debate.
It also calls for re-examination of a new Woodhead Tunnel as a rail/road link between Manchester and Sheffield, alongside work on the Trans Pennine Tunnel.
It emphasises the importance of road and rail links to Doncaster Sheffield Airport, and improving the capacity and flow of the M1 corridor.
The report also sets out the aim of becoming a world-leading ‘digital network city region’ with broadband speeds of one gigabit per second to every home and business.
Looking within the region, the report suggests extending train, tram and tram-train networks to create a ‘sustainable inter-urban system’, linking towns and villages as well as the city.
And it calls for improved bus services for places not served by rail.
Professor Chris Husbands, vice-chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University, said: “Our region’s geography offers fantastic potential for it to become a national and international hinge-point for the distribution of goods, and movement of people – connecting east and west, and north and south.
"Equally exciting is the potential for digital connectivity within our region, to meet the best international standards, and to support innovation and new industries.”