Ten English cities to bid for £840 million local transport funding

Ten city regions have been shortlisted to bid for £840 million as part of the government’s £1.7 billion Transforming Cities Fund. Local authorities in Derby and Nottingham, Leicester, the North East, Norwich, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Southampton, Sheffield, Stoke-on-Trent and West Yorkshire will seek to make cases for a share of the funding.

The Transforming Cities Fund contributed £160 million towards the Beeline Cycle Network in Greater Manchester. Set to be the largest network of its kind in the UK, the proposal for 1,000 miles of interlinked cycleways will connect communities across ten boroughs.

The four-year funding could be used by cities for installing e-bike docking stations, said a Government statement.

Prime Minister Theresa May said: "Our great cities and their suburbs are home to millions of people and world-beating businesses. We want to help them succeed, so as part of our modern Industrial Strategy we will fund £840 million of upgrades for better, safer, faster transport links.

Transport secretary Chris Grayling said: "Good bus, cycle and tram routes play a huge role in increasing the vitality and vibrancy of cities."

The ten shortlisted city regions will each receive an initial £50,000 as well as bespoke support from government to co-develop the strongest cases for investment. 

While the city regions finalise proposals, £60 million from the Fund will be made available over the next year to share across transport schemes aimed at tackling head on some of the most pressing challenges faced by communities.

Cycling UK’s policy director Roger Geffen said: “This funding could enable ten of our cities to improve the health of their citizens, their environments and their local economies, by delivering high-quality cycle networks. 

However, he also warned: “If ministers are serious about improving our health and that of our streets and communities, that cannot be delivered merely with stop-start funding for a handful of cities. It needs serious long-term investment in high-quality cycle networks throughout the country.”

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