The Government will provide a further £150 million to the West Yorkshire Combined Authority to boost local transport infrastructure.
An extra 300 parking spaces could be created at a Bradford rail station after the next stage of a huge transport budget was “unlocked.”
The West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund has financed a number of major schemes in recent years, including new stations at Apperley Bridge and Low Moor.
Over £180 million of Government funding has been invested across West Yorkshire over the past five years.
Now the Government has announced that it is satisfied that this funding has been spent wisely, and will provide a further £150 million to West Yorkshire Combined Authority to boost local transport infrastructure.
One project that is likely to benefit from this funding is a “rail and ride” scheme that will see 300 new spaces created at Apperley Bridge Station.
It is park of a £30.5 million push to get more people to part commute by rail, allowing them to drive to stations if they are not within walking distance.
Other stations likely to benefit include Shipley.
The Combined Authority has successfully passed a “gateway review” looking at how it has invested money through its West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund.
The review considered decision making processes, delivery and value for money. As a result, Government has unlocked the further £150 million, which will be invested from 2021 – 2026.
It will be used to improve public transport, cycle and walking routes in West Yorkshire, as well as reduce congestion and air pollution.
The funding is in addition to the Transforming Cities Fund, a £317 million package of investment secured by West Yorkshire’s council Leaders as part of the landmark devolution deal, agreed with Government in March.
That money will be used to pedestrianise swathes of Bradford City Centre, create a new cycling route on Thorton Road, improve Bradford Interchange Station, a Park and Ride near the M606 and be used to fund a possible mass transit system linking Bradford to Leeds.
Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leader of Bradford Council, said: “We welcome this strong endorsement, which shows that the Combined Authority is investing public money wisely.
“By delivering schemes like new rail stations, park and ride facilities and improved cycle paths, we are making a real difference to people’s quality of life.
“We have made excellent progress over the past five years, thanks to the investment we have been able to make into our communities through the Growth Deal, and we will be building on this as we deliver the West Yorkshire Devolution Deal. Given the times we are living through, such investment is needed more than ever.”
Roger Marsh OBE DL, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and the NP11 group of Northern local enterprise partnerships, said: “The role the LEP played in unlocking this significant funding shows what great things we can do when we work in partnership, and partnership working will be absolutely vital in our response to Covid-19.
“As we phase out of lockdown, our support must include robust plans to kick-start our region’s economic recovery and help businesses bounce back as quickly as we can, while remaining safe and secure, so we can build an even more vibrant, successful region.”
Cllr Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Lead, said:
“Covid-19 is the greatest challenge most of us have seen during our lifetimes. The significant extra funding we have been able to unlock means we can continue to invest and support our region’s economy with better access to safe public transport and more space for people to walk and cycle as they return to work.”
Cllr Denise Jeffery, Leader of Wakefield Council and Chair of the Combined Authority’s Investment Committee, which oversees infrastructure investment decisions, said:
“These investments in our region’s transport infrastructure are a vital part of our efforts to support jobs, growth and skills and will prove even more valuable as we help the region recover as quickly and as strongly as possible from the devastating impact of Covid-19.”
In its first five years, the West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund has supported 54 projects, investing over £127 million in improved transport infrastructure.
Schemes the Combined Authority and partner councils have delivered as a result include three new rail stations – Apperley Bridge and Low Moor in Bradford, and Kirkstall Forge in Leeds – as well as major road improvements and significant new Park & Ride schemes. The 1,000-space Temple Green Park & Ride in Leeds, for example, has helped increase bus passenger numbers, reduce journey times, traffic volumes and demand for parking spaces in Leeds City Centre.
Over the 20-year lifespan of the West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund, the Combined Authority will invest £1 billion across the region to support the creation of 18,000 additional jobs and boost the region’s economy by £1.2 billion a year by 2036.
The new funding – together with the £317 million Transforming Cities Fund transport investment confirmed through the West Yorkshire devolution deal – will see schemes such as Castleford station gateway, Hard Ings Road in Keighley, Mytholmroyd car park and East Leeds Orbital route (ELOR) get the green light.