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Liverpool seeks approval for £225M light rail plan

LIVERPOOL HOPES to be the next UK city to receive government cash for a light rail scheme.

Liverpool Passenger Transport Executive (PTE) Merseytravel is seeking government approval for its £225M line within three to four weeks. It will be part of a proposed three line network.

Speculation about light rail's future has intensified after Commons Transport Sub Committee members last week voiced doubts about assumptions in the government's 10 year transport plan.

The plan expects 13 light rail schemes to be approved in time to meet the government's 10 year target of 25 new line schemes by 2010.

Liverpool's scheme was submitted to government last year as part of Merseyside's local transport plan, but was held over for further appraisal following the local transport funding settlement in December. Its business case is currently under Treasury scrutiny.

If approved, the system is expected to link with local rail services that are to come under control of Merseytravel following the Strategic Rail Authority's announcement last week to give up control of the Merseyrail Electric franchise.

The PTE said this week that it would refranchise the service operated by Arriva in February 2003 over a new 15 year term.

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