Transport secretary Chris Grayling has said the north of England should "take control" of its own transport networks.
Writing in the Yorkshire Post, the minister said while central government would fund any work, it was down to the region itself to design and manage them.
Grayling said: "The success of northern transport depends on the North itself."
"It is central government's responsibility to provide funding and a delivery structure that ensures efficiency, value for money and accountability.
"But, beyond this, I want the North to take control."
His article comes ahead of a transport summit in the region to be attended by local leaders and businesses.
It also comes a day after former Chancellor George Osborne called for "HS3" high-speed rail lines between Liverpool and Hull.
Transport union RMT dubbed Grayling's words a "disgraceful way to treat a region that has just had key rail upgrade and modification works binned and which has been condemned by this minority government to life in the slow lane".
"The so-called transport summit today is a total fraud that has no involvement from the workforce who are out their day in day out struggling to hold services together."