FULL STATEMENT: Mark Dowd resigns after position became 'untenable'
THE EMBATTLED chairman of Merseytravel Mark Dowd today quit saying his position had become untenable.
Cllr Dowd has been under sustained pressure to resign since last week when eight of the 16 ruling Labour group on the transport authority demanded his resignation.
They want his head claiming he has failed to deal with a catalogue of revelations rocking the organisation.
Today he said their demand had meant he could no longer carry on and would not been seeking re-election to be chairman at Merseytravel's annual general meeting later this month.
Here is his full statement:
On 28th May, 2012 I received a letter, signed by eight of the sixteen Labour Councillors of the Authority, which concluded by stating the following "you have served for 20 years as Chair. If you do choose to stand for re-election as Chair you should be aware we will not support you. In our view it is time for a change for the good of the organisation and the people of Merseyside and to avoid a protracted public row. It is our firm hope that you do the right thing and stand aside."
I now believe that my position as Chair of the Authority is untenable. Whilst I am grateful for the overwhelming support I have received from many, many people, I will not be seeking re-election as the Authority's Chair at its Annual General Meeting on 28th June, 2012.
I have now served in public transport for over half a century and I believe we now face the most crucial and critical time for transport in a generation given the major cuts imposed by the Coalition Government.
There are massive challenges which must continue to be tackled if the economic and social benefits for Merseyside are to be achieved through the transport system. For example, with regard to the High Speed 2 rail project, which links the North with London, it is imperative that Merseyside is included as an equal partner in its development with Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds and not as a junior partner.
Lime Street station is the primary rail route into Merseyside. Given this, we have to ensure that Merseyside and not Manchester maintains and enhances control of services to and from this mainline station. We must ensure that Merseyside does not become a bit player in the wider transport world.
The future of the local Merseyrail electric system will depend on being able to deliver modern trains which will have a shelf line of at least 30 years and which are controlled at a local level. If the purchase of these new trains is not concluded successfully and handled carefully and skilfully, the system is in danger of grinding to a halt.
I'm proud of the many achievements of the Authority during my twenty years of being the Chair. For example, Merseyrail is one of the country's flagship railways and has consistently been identified as one of the safest and best performing railways. The Authority's enhancement and development of the tourist industry, particularly based around the river, one of the areas most important assets, has been transformational. The many transport schemes and projects, such as the rebuilding of many railway and bus stations, has been second to none.
Perhaps, most of all, my proudest achievement has been to maintain the comprehensive concessionary travel pass system for those aged 60 and over which has been dismantled in other parts of the country. But, if there was one achievement that I hope will stand the test of time, it would be this one.
All these achievements have been undertaken in partnership with both the public and private sectors and through the hard work and dedication of staff in the Merseyside transport family.
Finally, I hope the many people who have given me support over the years will not be disappointed at my decision and understand why I have made it. Ultimately, the wellbeing of my family must be my first consideration.
I wish the new leadership of the Authority the very best of luck and good fortune in the difficult challenges and tasks ahead.