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C-charge money faces the axe

The government’s £2bn Transport Innovation Fund (TIF) could be scrapped if local authorities fail to bid for the cash, the Department for Transport (DfT) warned this week.

Last month residents of Greater Manchester voted overwhelmingly against a scheme of transport improvements. The scheme would have combined £1.5bn in government TIF money with a further £1.5bn raised from a peak-time congestion charge.

A DfT spokesman said that the £200M per year earmarked for TIF until to 2019 was "an indicative amount only", but if local authorities failed to bid for the cash, TIF could be scrapped and the money returned to the wider DfT budget. In addition, if some bids were made totalling less than the £200M per year, then the remaining money could also be returned to the DfT budget. However, the DfT spokesman added that, should more schemes be approved than the £200M per year allows,
then more money could be diverted to TIF.

While Manchester has voted against the TIF upgrades and congestion charge, the spokesman confirmed that four other urban areas – Bristol/Bath, Leeds, Reading and Cambridgeshire – are still working on bids, but have not confirmed whether they will submit them. Each bid must pass through a process of public consultation before the final approval of schemes and TIF money is released.

While Manchester opted for a public referendum, the spokesman said that this particular approach was not mandatory.

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