A new body that will oversee the delivery of major transport infrastructure projects in the North of England has moved a step closer.
Transport for the North, the centralised body that will bring together all local transport authorities in the North, is set to become a statutory body by early 2017 following the passing of the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act.
In response to the passing of the act, TfN has outlined its wishlist for improving the region’s connectivity.
These include the statutory power to set out priorities for investment in roads and rail, as well as overseeing the delivery of transport projects and programmes in the North.
Northern Powerhouse Rail (HS3), the proposed high-speed line linking the North-east of England to the North-west, will be a priority project for TfN.
Other requests include the power to co-ordinate a new pan-northern system of smart and integrated ticketing and allowing it to oversee the Northern and TransPennine rail services.
Chancellor George Osborne called the passing of the act a “fundamental shake-up” to the way the country was governed, giving more devolved power to cities and regions across the UK.
Transport minister Andrew Jones said the act’s passing was a “major step forward” in putting TfN on statutory footing.
He said: “Giving TfN a legal basis will ensure it has impact, influence, and the certainty to plan and drive forward projects like Northern Powerhouse Rail and the roll-out of smart ticketing in the North.”
The passing of the act comes a month before TfN was set to release an updated strategy.
The report, which is expected to be published ahead of the March Budget, will outline some of the projects that are crucial to improving the North’s transport system.
It is expected to be released alongside the National Infrastructure Commission’s report looking into what infrastructure is needed to improve connectivity between cities in the North of England.
TfN’s chairman John Cridland said: “With the passage of this Act of Parliament today, TfN can now move our partnership to a new level, speaking with one voice for the whole of the north, and with the legal powers we need to deliver on those ambitions.”
“This is a big step forward for devolution, and a great opportunity to transform the connectivity of communities across the north.”