In the Budget 2020 announcement on Wednesday 11 March, funding was allocated from the Transforming Cities Fund (TCF) to nine city regions.
A funding decision has not yet been made on the Portsmouth city region TCF bid. Instead, Portsmouth has been invited to bid for a share of £117 million with Norwich and Stoke-on-Trent, subject to full business case approval.
The Portsmouth city region bid unites Portsmouth City Council, Hampshire County Council, Isle of Wight Council and local transport operators to deliver a rapid transit network across South East Hampshire (South East Hampshire Rapid Transit).
Now, officers from the three local authorities will meet with the Department for Transport to discuss next steps for the Portsmouth city region bid.
Councillor Lynne Stagg, Portsmouth’s Cabinet Member for Traffic and Transportation and co-chair of the South East Hampshire Rapid Transit Board, comments. “South East Hampshire Rapid Transit is still very much an ambition for Portsmouth and South East Hampshire. We will continue to work with our partners to seek funding opportunities in addition to the £117 million, which has been ring-fenced by the DfT for public transport improvements.”
Councillor Stagg continues, “We must improve connectivity and access to jobs and education, and I am absolutely convinced a sustainable rapid transit system is what this area needs to prosper.”
Councillor Rob Humby, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment at Hampshire County Council, said: “With our partners in the cities, we put together ambitious bids with the potential to transform the way people travel in and around South Hampshire – promoting economic prosperity, linking transport and housing developments, reducing congestion, improving air quality and tackling carbon emissions.
“We will be working with the Department for Transport (DfT) on the implications of the announcement that any funding allocated to Portsmouth will be a share of £117 million which we need to bring about much needed transport and travel improvements for those commuting into and around Portsmouth.”
The Department for Transport released two waves of funding for the Transforming Cities Fund. In March 2019, the Portsmouth city region received the full ask of £4 million from the initial fund.
From the ‘Tranche 1’ funding, £2.6m has been spent on three junction improvements in Portsmouth and Real Time Information installation at bus stops across Portsmouth, Havant and Waterlooville. £1.4m will be used to support the extension of the existing Eclipse bus route in Gosport.
From Tranche 2, Portsmouth, along with Stoke-on-Trent and Norwich, will be invited to submit a bid for a share of £117 million.