Towns and cities throughout England can start planning the major transport schemes of the future following an announcement today (23 January 2013) by Transport Minister Norman Baker.
The Department for Transport is devolving decision making on major local transport schemes, giving local areas control over how their share of funding will be spent in years to come.
Today, the department published indicative funding levels for the local transport bodies taking these decisions and confirmed the geographical areas that these bodies will cover.
Where agreement has not been reached locally on boundaries, the department has outlined the approach that will be taken in each case.
From 2015, each local transport body will be allocated funding according to the number of people living within its boundaries. This is a change from previous arrangements, where local areas bid for a share of a central funding pot, putting forward specific schemes for consideration.
Norman Baker said:
The devolution of major transport schemes will give real power to communities to make locally-accountable decisions about what will work best for them.
The figures we have published today provide the clarity local areas need to plan for the future and armed with these figures, local decision makers can start looking at the kinds of infrastructure projects that will deliver the greatest benefits for local people.
Many transport schemes deliver benefits far beyond their immediate surrounds and I would encourage local authorities to talk to their neighbours where joint schemes might be appropriate.
Using the figures released today, local transport bodies will be expected to develop provisional scheme programmes by July 2013. The indicative funding levels are based on the overall funding for local major schemes from the 2010 Spending Review, distributed between local bodies on the basis of population.
The actual allocations will not be determined until future spending rounds and the department is therefore advising local bodies to make contingency provision in their programmes for actual budget levels to be one third higher or lower than their indicative figure.
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