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Big demand for integration cash

INTEGRATED TRANSPORT schemes dominate local authority bids for Government transport funds, NCE learned this week.

Drafts of the provisional one year Local Transport Plans submitted by councils to the Department of the Environment Transport and the Regions reveal a big increase in transport schemes aimed at cutting car congestion and improving the environment.

A Local Government Association survey of councils just before the 30 July deadline for the submission of LTPs also confirmed that they were enabling local authorities to integrate transport planning with land use and environmental issues.

LGA head of planning, transport and environment Andy Elmer said: 'What we have discovered is that most local authorities have certainly responded to new requirements in their transport planning and are operating in a different way.'

The Government settlement for the 2000/2001 LTP plans are expected to be around £724M, an increase of £100M on last year's one year Traffic Plans and Policies settlement. The settlement for the first 12 months of the five year LTPs to be submitted in July 2000, is expected to top £1bn.

The integrated transport schemes included in the draft LTPs obtained by NCE include:

A £90M bid to relocate the bus station in West Bromwich town centre, boosting regeneration.

A new interchange at Birmingham International station to link the airport and the National Exhibition Centre.

A new rail station west of Birmingham city centre to serve the National Indoor Arena.

A £25M bid to extend the Newcastle Metro to Sunderland and South Hylton.

A 'high quality' busway between Gateshead town centre and the Metrocentre super mall.

A £25M bid to set up a transport information centre for Hampshire linked to the ROMANSE driver information system around Southampton.

Improved public transport links to key points along the 298km Pembrokeshire coast path. Projects include new bus routes, shared car hire schemes, rescheduled bus services to meet trains and park-and-ride projects.

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