Funding decision on Leeds trolleybus plan ‘just weeks away’

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The funding fate of the Leeds trolleybus scheme should be known within the next few weeks.

Transport Minister Norman Baker has said he expects to make a decision on the congestion-busting project “very shortly”.

It is thought an announcement is likely before the start of Parliament’s summer recess on July 17.

Leeds North West’s Lib Dem MP Greg Mulholland today said the wait for a decision on the scheme had been “frustrating” for all those involved.

He went on: “Leeds still remains the biggest city in Europe without light rail or an underground system.

“In order to deal with congested roads and boost the local economy, the city desperately needs a modern integrated transport system.”

The proposed trolleybus network would link the city centre with Holt Park in the north and Stourton in the south.

Ministers knocked back a bid for funding for the £250m system last October. The revised proposals now under consideration were submitted to Whitehall two months later.

Plans for a Leeds trolleybus network were drawn up after the last Labour government axed funding for the city’s £500m Supertram scheme in 2005.

* Transport bosses in West Yorkshire are pressing ahead with plans for the biggest shake-up of the county’s bus system in a generation.

West Yorkshire’s publicly-funded transport authority, Metro, yesterday voted to continue with its work on a proposed quality contracts system.

It will give Metro responsibility for fares and routes – matters that are currently controlled by profit-driven private operators.

The Association of Bus Operators in West Yorkshire today expressed surprise and dismay at Metro’s decision.