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Mancunians to vote on TIF on 11 December

The Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) will hold a public referendum to decide whether to accept £3bn in Transport Innovation Fund (TIF) cash in addition to a congestion charging scheme for Greater Manchester, on December 11.

If Mancunians accept the deal, £3bn will be ploughed into public transport schemes across Greater Manchester, including significant extensions to the Metrolink tram network, with a weekday peak-time only congestion charge beginning in 2013.

Postal ballots will be sent out, to be returned by 11 December.

Leader of AGMA, Lord Peter Smith said, "December is the earliest we can organise a referendum that runs across all of Greater Manchester.

"But I think it is important that the people of the city-region are able to give their views on the proposed investments, and the limited charge, as soon as possible after the formal consultation defines the final form of our proposals.

"I look forward to the proposals being put to the people of Greater Manchester."

A new survey suggests that 70% of drivers in Greater Manchester spend at least 10 minutes sat in heavy traffic every day. 50% of those people questioned are late for work once a fortnight as a result.

Smith believes that this information will persuade Mancunians to vote for the TIF plans. "The fact that so many people spend time stuck in traffic jams indicates congestion is an issue for the city and businesses can only benefit if all the people who are arriving late for work each week as a result of congestion get there on time."

65% of people surveyed said public transport does not currently offer a reliable alternative to the car.

"The findings indicate that many people would chose to use public transport if they believe it provided a reliable alternative to the car. The TIF investment of up to £3bn will bring that about through the introduction of a far more integrated network of trams, trains and buses and a smart travelcard allowing people to get around faster and more efficiently," he said.

Under the proposals, new Metrolink lines will run to East Didsbury, Manchester Airport, Oldham and Rochdale town centres and Tameside. Funding has also been set aside for a line running out to Trafford Park and the Trafford Centre. There will be more seats on local trains and buses.

Drivers would be subject to congestion charging, crossing either of two rings going into town in the morning rush hour, and out of town in the evening rush hour. The charge will be capped at £5 per day.

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