New legal powers to transform Transport for the North (TfN) into the UK’s first-ever statutory sub-national transport body were laid out today (16 November) in Parliament.
The government says the new legislation will give the North an unprecedented say on how money is spent on transport schemes across the region.
Today's announcement will see TfN get new powers to:
- Produce a statutory transport strategy for the North, which the government must formally consider when taking funding decisions
- Fund organisations to deliver transport projects
- Work with local authorities to fund, promote and deliver road schemes - and be consulted on rail franchises in the North
- Take forward smart ticketing to bring in faster, easier rail travel
After being approved in Parliament, the legislation will be made into law by the end of the year or shortly afterwards depending on legislative time. TfN will become a statutory body on 1 April 2018.
Announcing the new statutory powers, transport minister Jesse Norman, said: “These new powers will give TfN far greater influence over national infrastructure decisions, as well the certainty they need to plan and drive forward projects such as Northern Powerhouse Rail and smart ticketing.”
Northern Powerhouse minister Jake Berry added that the powers given to TfN will be a “game changer”, enabling the progression of northern transport projects and ambitious plans to improve connections and boost economic growth.
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Independent chairman of TfN John Cridland said: "To have the statutory instrument laid before Parliament is a tremendous achievement, having secured the support of 56 local authorities including all 19 of our constituent authorities. We look forward to continuing to work closely with our partners to transform the region’s infrastructure and grow the UK economy.”
TfN is a partnership of 19 local authorities, business leaders and 11 local enterprise partnership areas from across the North. It will help determine the top priorities for transport in the area and work with government to ensure these are taken into account in decisions made by the Transport Secretary.
The government has confirmed £150m is available to TfN for smart ticketing, £60m for Northern Powerhouse Rail and £50m to run TfN, a total of up to £260m.