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Manchester Metrolink looks for additional funding after finally reaching tender stage

THE TENDER process for a £650 million deal to extend Manchester's Metrolink light rail system will finally start next month.

Years of funding problems have stalled the scheme, led by Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority.

Phase 3 of the Metrolink secured initial funding from the Government earlier this year after it was approved as par t of the regional transport priorities list. Now the scheme is seeking money from the Government's Transport Innovation Fund to start work on site.

A joint venture of Mowlem and Nuttall had originally been competing with Serco for the civil engineering contract.

A spokeswoman for the authority said: 'We tendered this deal several years ago but had to abandon it due to funding problems. Expressions of interest will go out in the next few weeks and the scheme is now back on track.'

The Transport Innovation Fund, which is led by the Department for Transport, is a new way of securing funding for capital projects that have failed previously in getting Government cash.

Phase 3 will be carried out in two parts. The first will extend north to Oldham and south to Chorlton. The second will extend into Oldham and Rochdale town centres and south to Manchester airport.