NORTHERN POWERHOUSE TO GET SHARE OF £60M TRANSPORT FUNDING
The news that regions across the Northern Powerhouse (Sheffield, West Yorkshire and North East) are set to benefit from a share of an £840m transport fund has been hailed by leaders as a major step to increasing Northern prosperity.
The Sheffield City Region, West Yorkshire Combined Authority and the North East were named on a shortlist of ten areas which will bid for investment in the next stage of the Transforming Cities Fund.
Each authority will receive £50,000 to develop their investment cases. While the city regions finalise proposals, £60m from the Fund will be made available over the next year to share across transport schemes. Greater Manchester, the Liverpool City Region and Tees Valley previously secured allocations from the Transforming Cities fund in the 2018 Budget
Henri Murison, director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said the transport improvement support by the funds will help boost the economy of the region.
“The opportunities in the Sheffield City Region, West Yorkshire and the North East are there to be unlocked through transport investment that being shortlisted could bring,” he said. “The government is making available investment across the Pennines to make travel between our cities easier, but if people cannot get from where they live into mainline stations they will lose out. Not only that, but local transport links improve access to local jobs and educational opportunities to allow our young people to fulfil their aspirations.
“Many of our towns and communities with high numbers of people struggling to make ends meet are near the greatest concentrations of higher-skilled, higher-paid jobs in cities but cannot reach them. Filling the gaps that networks such as Tyne and Wear Metro don’t yet reach to meet demand is vital. Alongside reducing congestion and improving air quality by further decarbonising transport, building on the fact that the North East already leads Europe in electric car production, these funds can contribute to increasing Northern prosperity.”
West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s submission sets out plans to improve public transport along four key routes in the Leeds City Region and upgrade connections to eight rail stations.
Cllr Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council and member of the Combined Authority, said: “To maximise the impact of HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail we need significant investment to integrate these major schemes with local transport networks, particularly through the remodelling of Leeds Station.
“Our proposals will build on the progress we are making tackling congestion, speeding up journeys and encouraging public transport use through the £270m Connecting Leeds programme.”
In Sheffield, the funds will support development of a ‘ Global Innovation Corridor’, connecting key sites such as Sheffield city centre, the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District, Doncaster Sheffield Airport and Barnsley’s Digital Campus.
Councillor Jack Scott, cabinet member for transport and development at Sheffield City Council, added: “This announcement is excellent news for Sheffield and South Yorkshire. This project has the potential to radically improve transport in our communities, with cleaner air and more reliable public transport for all of Sheffield.
“We are really excited about the next stage and the way it will help us to build a strong economy that works for everyone.”