Government's silence on £100m transport funding 'extremely frustrating', say council chiefs

Mystery surrounds £100m in transport funding which was pledged to Leeds by the Government last year, with council chiefs still unclear on whether or not it had been previously announced.

By Richard Beecham
Monday, 25th April 2022, 4:45 am

In the integrated rail plan, introduced by transport secretary Grant Shapps last November, £100m was to go towards a future West Yorkshire mass transit scheme.

But money had also been announced as part of the City Regional Sustainable Transport Settlement, which was part of the mayor Tracy Brabin's devolution package.

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Coun Helen Hayden wants a more timely response from Government.

Now Leeds City Council chiefs don't know whether the £100m announced last year was new money, or was already included in the CRSTS.

Having asked Government to clarify this, the council is still awaiting a response, more than FIVE MONTHS on.

On the plans for a mass transit scheme, Leeds City Council's portfolio holder for transport Coun Helen Hayden (Lab) said: "We are progressing quite well, and there are lots of things to overcome in terms of routes and that kind of thing, but discussions have progressed really well.

"On the CRSTS, we did get towards the high point of our bid, but then in the IRP, they mentioned £100m for mass transit, but we still need clarification over whether that is new money, and we still haven't had that clarification.

"We haven't had clarification on any of our questions we took to them. It is extremely frustrating - we don't know

"They have not responded as yet, probably because they don't know."

Blueprints were revealed last year for a West Yorkshire mass transit system, this time with neighbouring towns and cities also proposed to benefit from new lines.

While it is still unclear what form the transport would take, it is likely that it would be some kind of tram or light rail system.

The IRP pledged £100m towards this, and said it hoped some form of the scheme will be “operational in the second half of this decade”.

The Department for Transport has been contacted for a comment.