By Sam Rkaina, Local Government Reporter / firstname.lastname@example.org
A FUNDING bid for £25 million of changes to Greater Bristol’s transport network has been shortlisted by the government.
The four local authorities have submitted the bid to the Local Sustainable Transport Fund, which aims to make transport more environmentally friendly.
It could mean more charging points for electric cars, cycling paths and improvements to major pedestrian routes in Bristol, Bath and Weston-super-Mare.
The £25 million Travel West proposal to the is one of just eight submissions that has been shortlisted straight though to the next stage by the Department for Transport.
Three bids were rejected, three more were invited to have another go next time and five were asked to submit revised funding bids.
The 64 page Travel West submission is heavy on jargon and buzz words but includes 10 projects that seek to “transform the way people travel”.
These include the introducing of 72 electric car charging points at car parks across the West, and offering up to 50,000 employees access to low or zero emission vehicles for business use.
Car clubs could also be expanding, more 20 mph zones introduced and establishing a fund for up to 200 community transport initiatives.
The full business case has to be submitted by December 20 this year with a decision expected in June 2012.
Chairman of the West of England Partnership’s joint transport committee Councillor Brian Allinson, said: “This is very good news and we’ll keep our fingers crossed. We now have to develop a full business case that shows out how we will spend the money and the benefits that will happen as a result.
“For example encouraging more people to use the bus, walk or cycle to work not only takes traffic off the road others to get around and people to run their businesses, but also helps people stay healthy and reduce health care costs.
“This is another example of how joint working between the local councils is making us more successful.”
The West of England Councils – Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire – have already successfully bid for £5 million from another government funding pot.
Work has already started, focussing on six key commuter routes encouraging people to use sustainable forms of transport such as the bus, walking, cycling, or car share.