Major hint that £100m funding application for Bristol Metro package will win Government support
A TRANSPORT minister has dropped a major hint that a bid of £100 million for the Bristol Metro package will win Government backing.
As reported in the Post, a bid has been put together by councils in the region to pay for a major scheme of improvements to the rail network around the city.
The improvements would include the long-awaited reopening of the Bristol to Portishead line, the creation of the Henbury loop line in north Bristol and a string of other improvements and new stations.
Transport minister Justine Greening appeared to give her backing to the project on a visit to Bristol which saw her officially open new aircraft stands at Bristol Airport.
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She said: “I think a strong public transport system is vital for economic growth and jobs and that is why as a government we have invested in major projects such as the electrification of the Great Western line and the Rapid Transit System in Bristol.
“We are keen to push on with electrification but that does not mean that there will be end of investment in the area. We are taking a very close look at the bid for funding which is with the Department of Transport at the moment for the Bristol Metro.”
She added that the city has won a major advantage over regional rivals by opting to have an elected mayor.
During her visit, the minister also spoke of the importance of the airport for the region’s economy.
The new aircraft stands are part of the multi-million expansion of the airport which will eventually see ten million passengers a year use Lulsgate. Other works planned include an extension of the airport terminal and a new transport hub.
Robert Sinclair, the chief executive of the airport, said: “This is the culmination of a five year process during which time the aviation industry, and the world in which we operate, has undergone considerable change.
“Despite challenging economic conditions we have remained focused on our end goal – delivering a world class airport for the South West.
“Once complete, this development will transform the experience of passengers using Bristol Airport.
“From arriving at a new public transport interchange linked by a covered pedestrian bridge to the extended terminal, to boarding flights from new walkways and bridges, every aspect of the airport journey will be improved. Forecasts estimate that the region will benefit to the tune of £1.9 to £2 billion in additional income as a result.”
The government minister spent the day in Bristol and after meeting with business leaders in the city she went on to visit the Bristol Port Company at Avonmouth.