The Department for Transport has announced that the Tees Valley will receive around £1m as part of its Sustainable Transport Transition funding. This will be used in combination with the Local Growth Fund to further develop the Connect Tees Valley sustainable transport project in 2016/17.
The Tees Valley Combined Authority understands that for the economy to grow people need to be able to move around the area to access existing jobs, increase travel by foot and bicycle and reduce the reliance on cars to get to work. The funding will also help to make travel easier by bus or train, leading to a reduction in congestion and carbon emissions in the area.
The funding will be used in conjunction with other capital funds to improve sustainable transport links across the five authorities, Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland and Stockton-on-Tees.
Thirty percent of people in the Tees Valley do not own a car, five percent higher than the national average. By helping people living in Tees Valley to use sustainable transport the funding will ensure residents without a car can still access employment, education, health, leisure, retail and other essential services. This will, in turn, give businesses in the Tees Valley access to a greater workforce.
The improvement of walking and cycling links also will promote a higher and healthier quality for Tees Valley residents.
Sue Jeffrey, Chair of the Tees Valley Combined Authority, said: “Sustainable transport is key for Tees Valley economic growth as it offers more people the facilities to travel for work. The Sustainable Transport Transition Year funding will be used to create more reliable and attractive public transport across the five areas in the Combined Authority.
“Also, an important aim for the Tees Valley is to create a high value low carbon economy by reducing congestion and carbon emissions across the region, which Connect Tees Valley will help to facilitate.”
Transport Minister Robert Goodwill said: “Green transport cuts congestion and improves air quality. It also offers the cheapest and healthiest way for people to access jobs and education.
“Tees Valley’s green travel scheme will make a real difference for residents and help provide better air quality for everyone. Our £21m funding across England shows we are committed to improving lives through investment in sustainable transport.”