A bid to secure millions of pounds to improve transport in South Yorkshire, grow the economy and support people to access new jobs has been submitted to Government by Mayor Dan Jarvis.
Mayor Jarvis, who is taking the lead on transport issues and is set to become a Transport for the North Board Member later this month, set out the vision to tackle the region’s transport problems in the application to the Government’s Transforming Cities Fund.
Speaking about the bid, Mayor Jarvis said: This is an important time for South Yorkshire. We are experiencing strong economic and jobs growth, we are developing our advanced manufacturing and engineering capabilities and we have globally significant assets such as Doncaster Sheffield Airport and the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District.
“But, quite simply our transport system and its supporting infrastructure is not fit for the 21st century. Our urban centres are poorly connected, residents struggle to access major employment sites and land available for development is constrained by congestion.
“These failures in the transport system limit the flow of ideas, people and business between our urban areas and major employment sites. It is a drag on our productivity, competitiveness and a waste of the talent and skills of our workforce. The current problems must be resolved as soon as possible, which is why we have set out these ambitious but deliverable plans.”
At the heart of the bid, which is supported by all four local councils, is the proposal to develop a new Global Innovation Corridor that stretches across the region, linking people to key sites including Sheffield city centre, Doncaster Sheffield Airport, the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Rotherham and Barnsley’s Digital Campus.
In addition, the bid seeks to improve connectivity for communities and businesses across the Dearne Valley.
If approved, cash from the Transforming Cities Fund would be spent on active travel, public transport improvements, mobility solutions and relieving congestion on key road routes. The projects would be delivered over the next four years.
Mayor Jarvis added: “Our major assets and capabilities provide a strong foundation for future growth. But we must make sure that our residents can get to the jobs being created, so we need effective public transport, which is affordable, well integrated and provides the services that people need.
“We must tackle congestion on our roads to improve journey times and make them more reliable. And I am determined to support active travel, by improving cycling and walking routes across the region.
“That is why it is essential that the Sheffield City Region receives a fair share of the Transforming Cities Fund. We have put forward a strong evidence based bid to the Department for Transport and I will be championing our case with Government Ministers.”
The Government says that the Transforming Cities Fund aims to “improve productivity and spread prosperity through investment in public and sustainable transport in some of the largest English city regions.”
The bid is supported by transport operators and private sector partners, including major investors Peel Group, Harworth Group and McLaren.
Owen Michaelson, LEP Board Member and Chief Executive of Harworth Group PLC said: “It is incredibly important that investment in property, capital equipment and skills is matched with infrastructure investment that supports people from across the region to access employment opportunities in key growth locations.
“I am very supportive of this bid for vital funding to improve our transport systems.”
This is the first stage of a two-stage bidding process, with the outcome of the second stage not expected until spring 2019.