Cambridgeshire has voted to bid for £500M of Transport Innovation Fund (TIF) money, despite the sole bid - for Manchester - failing in its open consultation last year.
In an open vote earlier today at Cambridgeshire County Council’s Full Council meeting, councillors voted ito submit a £500M Transport Innovation Fund (TIF) bid in an attempt to reduce congestion in Cambridge.
Cambridgeshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Growth, Infrastructure and Strategic Planning, Roy Pegram, said: “This is a unique opportunity for Cambridgeshire to unlock record breaking funding that will help us transform transport.
“Getting Chesterton Railway Station delivered as quickly as possible is a top priority for us as this will immediately help reduce congestion in the city as around 80% of people who use the central station currently travel across the city from the north. I expect to hear back from Government on this first part of our proposal by the end of the year.
“Although I do not welcome the prospect of a congestion charge, people in Cambridgeshire recognise that this is what might be needed in the future to keep Cambridge moving. It is vital that the public in Cambridgeshire, councils and organisations set the point with Government when enough is enough and congestion charging must be brought in.
“We cannot simply sit on our hands, do nothing, and expect congestion to go away, but neither should we bring in a congestion charge without first revolutionising transport choice. The bid we are putting forward to Government addresses the serious congestion problem we have here, and aims to bring about real benefits to the public.
“If people are not persuaded out of their cars in significant numbers by the transport improvements and we allow the city to come to a grinding halt nobody would thank us as this will damage the prosperity of the county, and in fact the entire country,” he said.
Cambridgeshire is asking for
- Government funding for a new railway station in Chesterton, which would start work in 2012, three years earlier than planned.
- A second stage will follow at the end of 2010 with a full bid for the remainder of the £500M package.
- The bid will include a ‘trigger point’ for a congestion charge to be introduced that will need to be agreed by the public, businesses, partner authorities and Government.
- The earliest a congestion charge would be introduced is 2017 - in eight years time, and only as a last resort if the record breaking TIF investment into transport does not help and the agreed trigger is reached.
The proposals mirror proposals put forward by the independent Cambridgeshire Transport Commission.
Manchester overwhelminghly voted against a £3bn package of transport improvements, which would have included a congestion charge, when the decision went to a public vote last Decemeber.