March 14 2018
English city regions are invited to bid for £860M of funding to improve public and sustainable transport links to centres of employment, the Chancellor announced in his Spring Statement yesterday.
Regions have until 8 June to submit bids and up to 10 winners will be selected to work with the Department for Transport to develop their proposals. The investment promised represents around half of the £1.7Bn Transforming Cities Fund, announced in last year’s Autumn Budget.
Proposals will be accepted from local transport authorities representing a city region outside London, with a population over 200,000 people.
Commenting on the announcement, Ernst & Young’s head of transport Tricia Nelson, said this represents an opportunity to “feed the increasing appetite of our cities” for economic power via the improvement of transport networks.
“Transport is arguably one of the biggest levers for regional economic growth and continued investment in road and rail is vital in achieving that,” she said. “However, there must be a concerted effort by industry stakeholders to work collaboratively otherwise this significant investment will not be maximised.”
Campaign for Better Transport spokesman Andrew Allen added: “Cities need to take advantage of this opportunity and invest in viable bus services, improve cycling and walking infrastructure and help deliver the Government’s commitment to expanding the rail network.”
Consultant WYG’s director of business development Rajiv Sudan said he supports the further commitment Government is giving to improving transport – and by association connectivity and competitiveness – in the regions.
But he added that the Chancellor’s Spring Statement generally lacked a focus on UK infrastructure. “It would have been good to see a lot more granularity on specific projects such as Crossrail 2 and High Speed 3, so that the necessary planning and resourcing can start.”
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