The Secretary of State for Transport has welcomed an accelerated transport package from Greater Manchester which would see further extensions to Metrolink lines, a cross city bus package and investment in additional park and ride sites worth almost a quarter of a billion pounds.
New Metrolink lines are planned to run from Chorlton to East Didsbury and from Droylsden to Ashton-under-Lyne. These extensions are in addition to the Metrolink expansion plans already underway and will result in Metrolink being more than twice the size it is today.
Alongside the additional track connecting more people to the tram network will be a cross city bus package and additional park and ride in Greater Manchester.
“I’m grateful for all the work that Association of Greater Manchester Authorities have done to develop these plans and I welcome these proposals to bring forward £195 million of government funding to improve local transport in Greater Manchester,” said Geoff Hoon, Secretary of State for Transport.
“The Ashton and East Didsbury tram extensions, bus improvements around Oxford Road and park and ride schemes will make a real difference to the residents and economy of this great City.”
In addition to the accelerated package, the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) has agreed a Greater Manchester Transport Fund prioritising public transport and highway schemes involving an investment of over £1.5 billion.
“We have agreed unanimously a priority programme of public transport and highway schemes with funding from national, regional and local sources which will deliver not only £1.5 billion of transport improvements but will also generate the maximum impact on the economy. The package will also generate social inclusion and environmental benefits,” said Lord Peter Smith, Leader of AGMA
“Coming up with the proposals involved some hard choices, they provide clear evidence of what strong City leadership can achieve and represent a real step towards ensuring that Greater Manchester has the transport system it needs to support its role as a world class City Region. We particularly welcome the Secretary of State’s announcement today of the accelerated transport package. This will ensure we can continue the momentum of the tram extensions to new areas, deliver important bus improvements in the Regional Centre and more park and ride facilities.”
The transport strategy focuses funding on these schemes which deliver the greatest benefits for the economy of Greater Manchester and creates an overall local investment of over £1 bilion through contributions from local transport programmes, future ITA levies and regional allocations which have been earmarked for Greater Manchester. This funding and prioritisation proposal has been submitted formally to the Secretary of State for approval.
“We very much welcome this announcement that further consolidates our position as a European Top 10 business centre and a location of choice for public sector relocation,” said Colin Sinclair, Chief Executive at MIDAS.
The overall programme is estimated to create over 20,000 jobs and highlights an important step in the development of the overall transport strategy for equipping Greater Manchester’s economy with the necessary infrastructure and the resilience to continue to grow over the next 5 to 10 years.