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Leeds set to win funding for all three metro routes

LEEDS IS expected to win funding for all three phases of its metro system ahead of the General Election as part of a plan to boost light rail construction over the next 10 years.

Sources at West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive said that meetings with the DETR and the Treasury since the new year had not yet determined what the Government stake would be in the £434M scheme which is likely to be financed by a mix of grants and private sector contributions. But officials have indicated Government funding will come in one go.

Leeds gained parliamentary powers for construction of lines two and three of its Supertram just before Christmas. It already has Government backing for phase one.

The Department of the Environment Transport and the Regions is under pressure to build 25 new light rail lines under the 10 year transport plan and hopes to save on time and cost from a 'big bang' approach.

Fears have also emerged that funding the lines one at a time would lead to legal difficulties if different operators ended up with different parts of the network.

'We are hoping for a deal that will provide funding for all three lines at the same time, ' said a source close to the Leeds project. That is the basis on which the DETR seems to want to do it.

We are optimistic we will get an announcement by the end of the month.'

The Government has already indicated that it plans an early announcement on funding for all three Leeds schemes in its responding letter to the Leeds local transport plan bid.

Meanwhile, the original Leeds Supertram consortium of Arriva, Christiani and Nielsen, Taylor Woodrow, Morrison and Vevy has been dropped from the scheme because of the expected change in its scope.

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