The planned fast rail link between Manchester and Leeds needs "kick-starting" as part of a plan to improve transport links in the North of England, a new report has urged.
The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) has called for improvements to be sped up, as the region needs "immediate and very significant investment", including investment in HS3.
Lord Andrew Adonis, former Labour transport secretary and chair of the National Infrastructure Commission warned that work needs to "begin as quickly as possible" if the Northern Powerhouse is to become a reality.
"Leeds and Manchester are just 40 miles apart but there is no quick and easy way to travel between the two. In rush-hour it can take more than two hours by car, by train it can be almost an hour," he said.
He added: "So we should kick-start HS3 across the Pennines and slash journey times to just 30 minutes. But we must not wait decades for change - journey times should be cut to 40 minutes by 2022."
“A better connected north will be better for jobs, better for families and better for Britain,” he said. “The work should begin as quickly as possible.”
Redeveloping Manchester Piccadilly train station and incorporating key parts of the north in the HS2 train network are among other recommendations.
Adonis accepted on BBC Radio 4's Today programme that transport improvements in the north of England were already being undertaken.
Last week the NIC gave their thumbs up to the development of Crossrail 2.
The report comes a day before Chancellor George Osborne's budget, where he is expected to back the HS3 rail project, as well as Crossrail 2.
But Labour’s London mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan criticised the government for failing to give Crossrail 2 the "green light".
It had been widely expected that the Chancellor would allocate the £160m needed for the next stage of planning for Crossrail 2 in the Budget tomorrow, his campaign said.
"Ministers claim the green light has been given to Crossrail 2, but this is more like an amber light at best," Khan said. "This is only half of the money that Lord Adonis says is needed."