1. ITV Report

North East launches £377 million bid to transform travel in the region

The 'ambitious' plan will make travel across the region much easier Credit: ITV News

A bid has been agreed to try and secure more than £377 million of funding to improve transport in the North East.

Councils across the region from Northumberland to County Durham would split the Transforming Cities Fund.

If successful, the programme will be delivered over the next four years, after being approved today by the North East Joint Transport Committee, bringing together the North East and North of Tyne combined authorities.

How will the money be spent?

Councils say they want to create new rail services, improve stations and build walk and cycle routes across the region.

Local authorities and Nexus, which owns and manages Metro, will deliver the plan Credit: PA

We are seeking to transform the way people travel around the North East because that unlocks access to jobs, training and opportunity and drives the whole economy.

We have built an ambitious programme which reaches all parts of our region from Northumberland to Durham to put simple, sustainable, environmentally friendly travel at the heart of our plans for the North East’s future.

– Councillor Martin Gannon, Chair of the Joint Transport Committee

How much will the improvements cost?

The bid will be submitted to the Department for Transport this week and consist of five key themes:

£82.9 million invested in 16 miles of improvements to bus corridors into and through town and city centres, with high-quality priority measures to deliver consistent journey times.

£59.1 million to transform 29 miles of cycle and walking routes as well as cycle parking around town and city centres and major destinations including Metrocentre and Newcastle International Airport.

£55.9 million to upgrade key gateway rail stations including a new terminal building and parking at Sunderland, major improvements to access in and around Newcastle Central station and better access to Durham station.

£15.6 million to build new and larger park and ride sites for bus and Metro in Durham, Gateshead and north of Newcastle, as well as modernising payment.

£234.5 million to provide a new passenger rail line between Ashington, Blyth and Newcastle, and to deliver the Metro Flow Project to increase frequency, cut journey times and unlock future expansion of the network.

Improved park and ride services are included in the bid Credit: ITV News

The Department for Transport launched the Transforming Cities Fund in 2018 with 12 city-regions invited to bid for funding from a total pot of £1.28 billion.

The North East has already been successful winning an initial £10m being invested in the next year.

When will we find out if the North East bid has been successful?

A final announcement is expected in early 2020, and the revised programme will be delivered between 2020 and 2023.