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Transport Innovation Fund 2007 bid

Metrolink Phase 3 extensions

Plans for extensions were split into two stages. The first stage (3a) was approved on 6 July 2006, with final sign off on 16 May 2008. Conversion of the Oldham and Rochdale line and building part of the South Manchester line to Chorlton will be funded from part of the GBP520m budget reinstated on 16 December 2004. The East Manchester line to Droylsden will be funded by GMPTE borrowings, to be repaid over 30 years from Metrolink revenue.

Phase 3b was to be the Oldham and Rochdale town centre lines, Droylsden to Ashton-under-Lyne, the lines to East Didsbury and the Airport from Chorlton. The funding for Phase 3b was a key part of the GMPTE 2007 Transport Innovation Fund bid.

Transport Innovation Fund (TIF)

In November 2006 Greater Manchester was awarded GBP1.95 million alongside the GBP1.25 million from November 2005. These ‘pump priming’ funds were used to look at strategic options for boosting public transport and cutting local traffic congestion.

The Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) agreed that four tests must be satisfied before the introduction of congestion charging measures could be considered for Greater Manchester. These tests were subject to full and detailed scrutiny by the AGMA leaders, supported by a panel of independent business leaders and academic experts.

The four tests were:

  1. There must be significant investment in public transport improvements including Metrolink and enhanced capacity must be in place prior to introducing a charging scheme.
  2. Measures must complement the competitiveness and inclusion priorities of the sub-region and not undermine the competitiveness of the regional centre or the town centres in the area.
  3. Measures must be acceptable, both to the public and also to the business community.
  4. Measures must be relevant to where congestion exists or where it may emerge in the future notwithstanding the advent of public transport improvements.

TIF Bid Agreed and Submitted

On 27 July 2007 the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) agreed to submit a bid to the Government’s Transport Innovation Fund (TIF). This would bring a 3 billion pound package of transport funding and the introduction of a road congestion charging system.

Public transport in Greater Manchester would be vastly improved; including an expanded Metrolink network, longer trains on many of the conurbation's rail lines and more frequent, high quality bus services. Other schemes including Park and Ride and Yellow School Bus services would be part of the largest and most far-reaching transport investment programme outside London, alongside measures to ensure effective integration across all transport services.

The agreed bid would also involve the introduction of a locally designed congestion charging system to target future congestion problems where they will have maximum impact of the economy and environment, with all charging revenues being retained for funding public transport improvements in Greater Manchester.

On 9 June 2008 Ruth Kelly, Secretary of State for Transport, announced that Greater Manchester’s TIF bid has been approved for programme entry by the Department for Transport.

Key improvements TIF would have delivered across Greater Manchester include:

The Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) and GMPTA/E undertook a wide ranging public consultation exercise from 7 July to 10 October 2008. On 29 August 2008 AGMA confirmed that a postal ballot, across Greater Manchester, would be held on the TIF bid proposals in December 2008.

At their meeting on 31 October 2008 in Manchester, the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) accepted the slightly amended proposals for the TIF bid. They also approved the draft question and ballot pack designed by independent expert Sir Neil McIntosh. The question contained a preamble mentioning both the GBP2.7bn of transport investment and peak–hour only weekday charge which would unlock the investment. It then asks people whether they support the proposals or not.

These proposals were rejected by voters, in all Greater Manchester areas, in the referendum on 12 December 2008. The AGMA formally abandoned the bid on 19 December 2008.

In May 2009 the AGMA agreed a new Greater Manchester Transport Fund for public transport and some highway improvements. It will include Metrolink phase 3b extensions but not the Trafford Centre extension.

TIF 2007 bid: top of page

This page was written by Tony Williams, Manchester Area Officer, Light Rail Transit Association. Contact if you have any comments, ideas or suggestions about these pages.