Plans to enshrine regional transport bodies in law have been published in Parliament.
The government wants to give bodies such as Transport for the North – which is made up of representatives from local authorities across the region – the power to advise ministers on relevant spending in their area.
Legislation is now working its way through Parliament to give such bodies statutory status.
Transport minister Andrew Jones said: “We know the North as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
“Putting bodies like Transport for the North on a statutory footing is a vital part of our plan to rebalance the economy, and will give greater emphasis to the ongoing work on options for rail and road improvements that will benefit passengers across the North.
“Legal status will ensure that Transport for the North’s impact and influence, and the transformational change that can result, is felt by customers for years to come.”
Transport for the North earlier this year set out details of up to £65bn of proposed rail schemes across the North of England.