Ten city regions have been shortlisted to bid for up to Â£840 million in government funding to improve public transport links, Prime Minister Theresa May announced yesterday (27 September).
The money is being offered through the Transforming Cities Fund, which aims to improve public transport links between city centres and suburban areas â€“ as part of the governmentâ€™s Industrial Strategy.
Projects to develop new bus routes between residential areas and employment hubs, smart technology to reduce congestion or docking stations for e-bikes could be among the initiatives funded through the project.
Transport authorities outside of London representing a city region with a workday population of around 200,000 or more people were invited to bid for the funding. This has resulted in projects from Derby & Nottingham, Leicester City, the North East, Norwich, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Southampton, Sheffield, Stoke-on-Trent and West Yorkshire advancing to the next stage of the bidding process.
These ten shortlisted city regions will each receive an initial Â£50,000 as well as administrative support from the government to co-develop the â€˜strongest cases for investmentâ€™ as part of the next stage of the project.
Announcing the shortlist yesterday, the Prime Minister, said: â€Our great cities and their suburbs are home to millions of people and world-beating businesses.
â€œWe want to help them succeed, so as part of our modern Industrial Strategy we will fund Â£840 million of upgrades for better, safer, faster transport links.
â€œThese improvements to vital infrastructure will help spread growth beyond London and empower local businesses to create more, better-paying jobs â€“ opening up more opportunities to help people get on in life and be rewarded for their hard work.â€
Six Mayoral Combined Authorities have already received a share of Â£840 million to deliver schemes including the Brierley Hill tram lines extension in the West Midlands and Â£160 million towards the Beeline Cycle Network in Greater Manchester (see airqualitynews.com story).
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, said: â€œGood bus, cycle and tram routes play a huge role in increasing the vitality and vibrancy of cities.
â€œThese 10 areas now have the chance to transform their transport systems â€“ making it easier for people to get around and enhance links to work, school or shops.â€
In an additional funding round this week, the governmentâ€™s technology research agency, Innovate UK has announced the availability of up to Â£22 million for industry-led research and innovation to accelerate the uptake and use of zero-emission vehicles in the UK.
The competition is looking for low-cost, highly-integrated systems that support zero-emission journeys for cars and other vehicles including buses, motorbikes and large trucks.
Announcing details of the funding this week, Innovate UK, said: â€œIn order to improve air quality and provide a better environment for people, there needs to be a massive expansion of infrastructure that supports clean technology and a leap forward in the development of cars, vans and trucks that produce low or zero emissions.
â€œThis competition will support governmentâ€™s aim to accelerate adoption and grow a strong, clean economy, putting the UK at the forefront of the global market.â€