- Metrolink's ‘big-bang’ expansion will come into operation this weekend as the new Second City Crossing opens on Sunday 26th February.
- Prominent Remain campaigners have warned projects like this - funded by the EU - are at serious risk.
- Mayoral candidate pledges to fight against Brexit "every step of the way."
As the Metrolink celebrates its landmark second city crossing this weekend, prominent Remain campaigners have warned of the serious implications to Greater Manchester's transport if a hard Brexit is pursued.
The £165m Second City Crossing, opening on Sunday 26th February, will allow more frequent, reliable and flexible services to run on the busy tram network, which now hosts more than 35 million journeys a year.
Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) opened the first phase of the route, from Victoria Station through to a new stop at Exchange Square in December 2015 - the project was fast-tracked thanks to a grant from the European Regional Development Fund.
However, Greater Manchester's most prominent Remain campaigners have sent a stark warning that the Government's commitment to pursue a destructive Brexit, and Labour's lack of opposition, will leave Greater Manchester short changed.
Former Manchester MP and Remain campaigner, John Leech, who was instrumental in the Metrolink's expansion to south Manchester, said: "The European Union has been absolutely critical in the successful development of Greater Manchester's transport, and this is a stark reminder of what is at risk with a hard Brexit.
"As Labour walk hand in hand with the Conservatives, sleepwalking us out of the EU, it will be Manchester that is left facing a funding starvation, an increasingly diminishing voice and no support. Only the Liberal Democrats are fighting for a close relationship with the EU."
In what has been a multi-billion pound project funded by the EU, the latest 1.3km stretch of track through the city centre links together a network now 93 stops strong, with over 60 miles of track, three times its original size and a record-breaking 37 million passengers a year.
The Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of Greater Manchester, Jane Brophy, who pledged to fight against Brexit "every step of the way", said: "The question in this mayoral election is not about which party you support, but about who you want at the Brexit table fighting for Greater Manchester's best interests and our place in Europe. It is only the Liberal Democrats who will derail Brexit and I am the only candidate fighting for the closest possible relationship with the EU.
"The Liberal Democrats are clear, we want a vote in the form of a referendum on the final Brexit deal, with Remain on the ballot paper.
"We are hurtling towards a hard Brexit which will have an enormous and detrimental impact on Greater Manchester, and I will fight against it every single step of the way."
The new landmark line will offer new links and more frequent trams through Manchester city centre, as well as improved service reliability and greater operational flexibility.