Far-reaching plans for improvements to transport in Leeds are poised to take a significant step forward.
Civic chiefs got the go-ahead from Whitehall in April to invest £173.5m in a package of schemes including a bus-rail link to Leeds Bradford Airport and new train stations at the White Rose Shopping Centre and Thorpe Park.
Now Leeds City Council’s decision-making executive board is set to formally approve the outline schedule for the Leeds Public Transport Investment Programme at a meeting next Wednesday.
Board members are also expected to give the green light to feasibility design work on the traffic congestion-busting programme, which is being managed by the council and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.
Council leader Coun Judith Blake said: “This is an important first step in bringing about the massive improvements in public transport we all want to see and which are vital for the future of the city and beyond.
“All of the key elements of the programme reflect what people told us they want to see – more and better public transport choices integrated to make a big difference, which are able to be delivered as quickly as possible.
“As a city and region we continue to be ambitious and alongside this programme we will also keep working on the longer-term aim of providing the rapid mass-transit system we need.”
The £173.5m being invested in the programme was originally earmarked for Leeds’s failed trolleybus project.
It needs to be committed to schemes that will be either finished or in motion before the end of 2021.
Transport operator First West Yorkshire is ploughing an additional £71m into the provision of more than 280 low-emission buses as part of the improvement push.
Other elements of the overall package include new park-and-ride services in Stourton and north Leeds together with bus priority measures on key road corridors such as the A61 North, A660, A58 North East and A647.
WYCA transport chair Coun Keith Wakefield said: “West Yorkshire Combined Authority has supported this ambitious programme, which aligns with our commitment to developing a modern integrated transport network for the whole of the city region, and will be considering it at our investment committee meeting on Friday.”