Budget 2020: Mayoral authorities win big in transport

By Dominic Browne | 11 March 2020

The Government has unveiled £4.2bn for urban transport as part of its spring budget giveaways.

The cash will be released from 2022-23 as part of five-year funding settlements for eight mayoral combined authorities, however, some authorities will have to put in place an elected mayor to win their share of the cash.

'Funding will be delivered through five-year, consolidated transport settlements agreed with central government and based on plans put forward by Mayors,' Treasury officials said.

'Following the approach that has worked for London, these settlements will be published once they have been agreed, providing transparency and accountability while giving mayors the flexibility and certainty to deliver their plans.'

West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, West Midlands, Liverpool City Region, Tyne and Wear, West of England, Sheffield City Region and Tees Valley, are all in line for the cash.

As a first step, the Government will open discussions with Greater Manchester, Liverpool City Region and West Midlands 'in the coming months'. 

The new West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Sheffield City Region, Tyne and Wear, West of England and Tees Valley will also receive settlements, 'subject to putting in place appropriate governance to agree and deliver funding, including an elected Mayor for their city regions and transport networks'.

A new directly-elected West Yorkshire mayor has already been announced. 

The Treasury also outlined where it wants some of the cash go: 'While it will be for elected Mayors to put forward ambitious plans, the Government would welcome the opportunity to support a range of schemes, such as the renewal of the Sheffield Supertram, the development of a modern, low-carbon metro network for West Yorkshire and tram-train pilots in Greater Manchester.' 

The cash pot builds on the £1.7bn Transforming Cities Fund, which was first unveiled in the Autumn Budget 2017, and saw £840m go directly towards six combined authorities.

In this spring Budget, the Treasury has finally confirmed allocations from the remainder of the fund - plus some extra - following the shortlist being announced in 2018.

The roughly £1.1bn for 'shovel-ready projects' provides.

  • £79m for Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole, including four new cycle freeways and new bus priority infrastructure
  • £161m for Derby & Nottingham, including over £25m for bus rapid transit in Derby and over £10m for a new cycle route between Nottingham, Derby and East Midlands Airport
  • £33m for Leicester, including £8m for the development of a sustainable transport corridor from St Margaret’s to Birstall
  • £198m for the North East, including £95m for frequency and reliability improvements across the Tyne and Wear Metro system and to complement the government’s recent £337m investment in new rolling stock
  • £51m for Plymouth, including £36m for an iconic new Central Park cycling and walking bridge
  • £40m for Preston City Region, including £25m for a new station at Cottam Parkway on the Preston-Blackpool line
  • £166m for Sheffield City Region, including a new Bus Rapid Transit link in Barnsley and a new tram stop on the Tram-Train line to Rotherham at Magna
  • £57m for Southampton, including new Rapid Bus links
  • £317m for West Yorkshire, including £39.9m for Halifax delivering a new bus station, improved rail station and other improvements to complement the revitalisation of the town centre and £30m for active and sustainable travel across Bradford

There will also be a further £117m for Portsmouth City Region, Norwich and Stoke-on-Trent 'subject to further business case approval, which could fund a range of projects, including a multi-modal transport hub at Stoke-on-Trent station'.

The Government claimed in total around £800m of the cash was for cycling and buses 'in line with its priorities', suggesting this money forms part of the £5bn Boris Johnson pledged during the election.

The government is also investing £20m to develop the Midlands Rail Hub.

The Government also confirmed £500m over the next five years 'to support the rollout of a fast-charging network for electric vehicles, ensuring that drivers will never be further than 30 miles from a rapid charging station'.

There will also be £403m for the Plug-in Car Grant, extending it to 2022-23 and £129.5m to extend the Plug-in Grants for 'vans, taxis and motorcycles to 2022-23,' the Treasury said.

In addition, the Budget announced the exemption of zero emission cars from the Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) ‘expensive car supplement’ and the publication of a call for evidence on VED, which will include how it can be further used to reduce vehicle emissions.

However, chancellor Rishi Sunak once again froze fuel duty.

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