An eight-week consultation into proposals to give local communities control of decisions and budgets for major local transport schemes was launched today.
The plans would see decisions on capital funding for local schemes - including roads, public transport schemes and new rail stations - devolved to locally elected transport bodies.
At the moment, government must approve all schemes over £5 million. From 2015, the local transport bodies would select their priority projects of any size.
Transport secretary Justine Greening said it is a central “plank to our localism agenda”.
“These proposals could hand real power to communities so they can make locally accountable decisions on what transport improvements are needed in their area,” she said.
The transport groups - incorporating Local Enterprise Partnerships and local authorities - would agree, manage and oversee the delivery of a prioritised programme.
They would need to assure the government of governance and financial management arrangements, accountability for decisions and achieving value for money.
The consultation – which runs until 2 April - proposes that the groups agree their prioritised programme of schemes by April 2013.
Funding would be allocated by formula rather than a competitive bidding process. The government has allocated £1.7bn of local transport funding to 2015, but has not come to a figure thereafter.