Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has written to Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen confirming a £59million transport fund that is being devolved to the region.
The details of the money, ring fenced for Tees Valley, came as it was announced during the Chancellor’s Spring Statement (March 13) that local authorities in other cities, such as Newcastle and Leeds, have been invited to bid for a piece of Government’s Transforming Cities Fund.
England’s six Metro Mayors have been awarded half of a £1.2billion national pot to deliver transport schemes in their region. Tees Valley’s allocation, to be delivered over the next four years, is based on an equal division per head of population. The other half is open to the rest of the country through a competitive process.
Mr Houchen said: “In the Budget last year the Tees Valley was awarded £59million to transform local public transport. Over the coming weeks I will be setting out our priorities for how this will be spent over the next four years.
“Other towns and cities are being told to bid for cash, but because we have a Metro Mayor, the Tees Valley will be getting a guaranteed pay-out for a much-needed overhaul to our public transport infrastructure.
“The situation for Tees Valley commuters is in no way ideal and this funding will help us drive real change. I want everyone travelling in and around the area to see considerable improvements.”
The Tees Valley Combined Authority has been working alongside bus and rail operators in the area since November 2017 and the Mayor will soon set out the wider transport priorities for the region.
Mr Houchen added: “We are getting ever-closer to delivering our vision for the future of transport in the area. These will be transformative for the region and I will be making some massive announcements in the coming months.”
Councillor Bill Dixon, Cabinet Member for Transport at the Combined Authority, said: “This is a positive step forward for our area. We can use this new investment to deliver our ambitious plans for much-needed upgrades to our local public transport system.
“We’ve been developing plans for some time but now we can start delivering them. This is about improving the daily journeys taken across the Tees Valley, and we will be working closely with communities to ensure we make the maximum impact for our residents and businesses.”