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Setting priorities

Local government

Weighing up the merits of separate local concerns will be one of the biggest challenges facing regional transport officers now the government has opted to press ahead with regional transport boards (RTBs).

Yorkshire & Humber was one of two regions to pilot the concept, and policy manager for transport planning Jason Copper explains that the next phase also offers challenges.

The fficulty of prioritising diverse projects is one such issue.

'We did develop a methodology to try and do that but, as ever, it's not an easy exercise. There's always a lot of political pressure to see schemes in the list.

'We will have to trim our list down to match the block of cash, and we do have to start comparing apples and pears.' Fears have also been expressed around the country about the legitimacy of the unelected boards to make decisions.

'If we had a directly elected board they could be selected for the region by the region, ' says Copper.

'At the moment we are reliant on local councillors leaving their local hats at home, and that's quite a difficult thing to do.

'As we are only making recommendations to the minister it could be made to work, but there are still some difficult decisions to be made.'

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