Ever since I became an MP I have campaigned for better public transport in Hackney.
I was therefore extremely pleased when in June 2010 we saw the opening of the East London Line, making Hackney no longer the only inner London borough without a tube or major rail link to central London. It was a triumph for former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, as well as people, like myself, who had campaigned long and hard to see Hackney connected to the wider tube network.
It has also made my commute into Parliament far quicker and more enjoyable. But most importantly, good transport links play a huge part in economic regeneration generally. Following the opening of the East London Line, Dalston will also see a massive £160million boost through the regeneration of the town centre and a scheme which will create more than 500 new homes, a library, shops and restaurants.
This is fantastic news, especially ahead of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games when Hackney will be right in the heart of it all. A modern and effective transport system will be the greatest legacy the Olympics could leave Hackney. Transport for London has also committed a huge investment to Crossrail, which will run through nearby Whitechapel and Stratford to the Olympic Park.
We have been given a once in a lifetime opportunity to transform our poorest areas. The Games will inevitably drive economic regeneration by bringing in new jobs, new homes but most importantly better public transport. Transportation is central to driving forward economic development in our area.
Women and the elderly are particularly dependent on public transport. I am myself a non-driver and use public transport so I will be doing all I can to ensure that Hackney transport reaps the maximum benefit from the Olympics.