Latest Rail News

11.11.15

Regional transport bodies offered same legal powers as TfN

Plans to put Transport for the North (TfN) and other regional transport bodies on a statutory footing have taken a major step forward today (11 November) with the publication of proposals in Parliament.

Chancellor George Osborne had noted in the Summer Budget that he was intent on transforming TfN into a statutory body after the government announced £30m funding to the newly-created group – which has recently also given Merseytravel’s David Brown its top job.

But today, Whitehall’s transport and Northern Powerhouse ministers have revealed that similar transport bodies will be offered the same legal powers and duties as part of its commitment to devolution.

TfN is already set to lead the way as the first sub-national transport body to be granted these rights, but other areas, such as the Midlands, may also request to become one once Royal Assent has been achieved.

These powers will allow bodies like TfN to advise transport ministers on investment priorities and strategic transport schemes in or related to their areas.

Statutory status would also give these groups the long-term permanence needed to embark on major projects.

Transport minister Andrew Jones said: “We know the north as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Putting bodies like TfN on a statutory footing is a vital part of our plan to rebalance the economy, and will give greater emphasis to the ongoing work on options for rail and road improvements that will benefit passengers across the north.

“Legal status will ensure that TfN’s impact and influence, and the transformational change that can result, is felt by customers for years to come.”

An update on the northern transport strategy is due to be published by spring 2016, which will hopefully outline considerations for rolling out smart and integrating ticketing and transforming east-west rail links.

(Top image: David Brown c. TfN)

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