Bradford Council asked to back £1bn fund to improve road and rail links (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Bradford Council asked to back £1bn fund to improve road and rail links
Bradford Council is being asked to approve a groundbreaking £1 billion fund to improve transport links throughout West Yorkshire, which is hoped to eventually create almost 4,000 jobs in the district.
Congestion-busting schemes on parts of the district’s road network, including key routes to Leeds-Bradford Airport, as well as upgrading and improving rail routes between Leeds and Bradford in preparation for the high speed connection (HS2) form part of the plans.
The West Yorkshire Plus Transport Fund is being developed by the five West Yorkshire councils – Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield – as well as York.
The resulting transport improvements are expected to create an extra 18,000 jobs in the region by 2036.
The funds required to secure the capital investment to deliver the package would come from a combination of an increase in the West Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority levy, 40 per cent of funding from the Local Transport Plan and major scheme funding by the Department of Transport.
Councillor Val Slater, Bradford Council’s executive member for transport, said: “This is a bold move, but one which we want to take to secure real investment in our future infrastructure, which will in turn allow us to transform the local economy across the county by increasing access to jobs.
“We are in a stronger position to bid for Government funding when we work together and as thousands of people travel from one of our council areas to another to work, this makes sense.
“It is the key to increasing economic prosperity and sustainability over the next decade, especially for people living in more deprived areas, giving better transport to access jobs as well as providing faster journeys, decongestion and improved air quality for the region.”
The authorities have agreed in principle for the initial £1bn of funds to be specifically targeted at increasing employment and productivity growth, to reverse decades of under-investment from successive governments and create a world-class infrastructure for West Yorkshire and its neighbouring authorities.
Outline schemes affecting Bradford, if given the go ahead, would include:
* a new road link from the A650 to Sticker Lane and Rooley Lane, with improvements from Bowling Back Lane between the A650 roundabout and Sticker Lane, and improvements to Tong Street past Holme Wood to Birkenshaw;
* improving the Bradford-Shipley corridor;
* providing pedestrian and cycling routes on Harrogate Road and New Line Junction.
The report states that initial analysis had shown a well-targeted ten-year programme of investment in transport would help free new and existing businesses from the restrictions they are experiencing and enable them to create and sustain a substantial number of new jobs.
Reducing congestion, improving the flow of freight and making it easier for people to commute to and from expected major growth areas will help create the estimated 18,000 jobs and increase economic output for West Yorkshire.
Metro chairman, James Lewis, described the fund as “ground-breaking”.
“Good transport links underpin the economy, so taking this joined-up approach across West Yorkshire and in York makes absolute economic and logistical sense,” he said.
“Hundreds of millions of journeys are made across our region each year and working together to generate significant investment in our transport network would help stimulate economic growth and the creation of new jobs.
“Establishing the Fund across West Yorkshire and York, our region will be able to secure additional future funding for further transformational investment in the region’s transport system.”
The Council’s executive will consider the report on Tuesday.