The cabinet is out and about today, trying to smooth feathers ruffled by last week's Lords reform row by splashing out on £9 billion worth of investment for railways. Today's announcement by David Cameron and Nick Clegg is, as much as anything else, an attempt to put into practice the Prime Minister's claim yesterday that the coalition is still capable of making real progress on big issues, despite differences on constitutional reform.
The other problem is how the upgrades will be funded. Today's £9 billion announcement includes £4.2 billion of previously unannounced spending. Transport Secretary Justine Greening was on the Today programme earlier insisting that it 'does have funding behind it from track access charges and also from the network grant which is how we fund the railways'. But she added that there 'is no money tree' and that 'for the time being passengers are paying'. Higher fares will be awkward for the government approaching the next election.
It's not all sweetness and light today, though, even on transport. As James revealed in his column yesterday, Number 10 and Number 11 are being driven 'to distraction' by Greening's opposition to a third runway at Heathrow. And the Transport Secretary stood her ground this morning, saying: 'The coalition agreement still stands that there is no policy for a third runway.'