The East Sussex Rail Alliance said the runway would be a ‘lifeline’ to coastal economies and help redevelop deprived areas.
The Airports Commission backed expansion at Heathrow instead of Gatwick on July 1. The Government is due to make its decision later this year.
Ray Chapman, co-chairman of the voluntary group, said: “Everything is still to play for. We are now at the decision stage - the most important part of this process and we are calling on Government to choose Gatwick whether or not it chooses Heathrow.
“Our concern is that an expanded Heathrow by itself will be to the detriment of development along the south coast – and will mean less investment in East Sussex, in roads with high fatality and accident levels; and railway routes that are excessively unreliable, slow, expensive and non-competitive. Recovering productivity in the South East region will be severely undermined if Gatwick development funding is curtailed in favour of Heathrow. “Gatwick expansion would accelerate the regeneration of the south coast, which has been promised over many decades but not yet delivered.”
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