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Manchester to fight Birmingham for tram cash

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MANCHESTER AND Birmingham will compete head to head for transport innovation fund cash in the 2007 funding round, it emerged this week.

Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive (GMPTE) head Roger Jones said that transport secretary Douglas Alexander has confirmed that both cities would be competing for the same cash.

The transport innovation fund was set up to encourage congestion busting projects.

'We are looking for a further £460M for the second phase of the Metrolink expansion and the minister said that we were in direct competition with Birmingham, ' said Jones, speaking at a Labour conference fringe meeting.

'He also said that road pricing was the long term strategy which tells me that we need to be considering it, ' he said Birmingham's passenger transport executive Centro last week published a report on congestion across the West Midlands. It is also seeking a further £430M for expansion of its tram scheme.

'In terms of measuring congestion, Birmingham are ahead of us but in reality we would like to see both cities get the cash, ' said North.

Construction of the £520M phase one expansion of Metrolink begins in 2008. This will see extensions to Oldham and Rochdale (22km), Droylsden in Tameside (6.4km) and Chorlton (2.9km). Phase two will go out to the airport, Ashtonunder-Lyne and East Didsbury.

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