THE green light is expected to be given today to a £145 million package of transport measures for West Yorkshire.
The schemes – including the proposed East Leeds Orbital Road, improvements to the A653 and the planned Wakefield Eastern Relief Road – will be the first to be backed by a new £1 billion transport fund for West Yorkshire and York.
Other projects on the list include a new park and ride scheme for Leeds, developing proposals for an extension of NGT, popularly known as trolleybus, to the Aire Valley and a new access road to Leeds Bradford Airport.
West Yorkshire and York councils are joining together to create a new ‘combined authority’ that will oversee a 10-year transport fund as part of wider efforts to grow the region’s economy.
The authority is not due to start work until next year but today West Yorkshire transport authority Metro is expected to approve £2.7m to be spent on moving the projects forward so they are ready for when the new fund comes on stream.
Metro chairman James Lewis said: “If approved by my ITA Executive Board colleagues on Friday, preparatory and consultation work can begin on this package of ground-breaking transport schemes across the five West Yorkshire districts and York.
“They will be ready for delivery in 2015 and will meet the West Yorkshire Transport Plus Fund’s key aims of enhancing connectivity generating additional economic investment and creating jobs.”
The transport fund will be made up of a mixture of money from the Government and from the six local authorities taking part. In the case of Leeds that means an initial contribution of £1m next year rising to £15.4m by 2022.
Discussions are ongoing with the Government over whether the money will be raised through the council tax bills sent out by each authority or whether the new combined authority will add their own precept onto the bill in the same way as the police, fire service and parish councils.