Local authorities and passenger transport authorities have a duty to promote effective public transport for their area. From time to time they wish to bring forward proposals for new or enhanced rail services. They have the required powers to secure the provision of such services but they are sometimes inhibited by the risk that significant funding may need to be committed over the long term. I am keen to encourage the best solutions for identified local needs, and have therefore considered how to make it easier for authorities to develop rail options.
I would therefore like to announce to the House the Government’s intention to fund in control period 5 (2014-19) the provision of new or enhanced services promoted by authorities which have rail industry support and can be funded from a budget which would be set for this purpose in 2012.
It is important that the promoter demonstrates that a rail scheme is the best way to address regional and local transport issues; hence promoters would be expected to fund a new or enhanced service for the first three years to demonstrate their commitment to the service and show that it delivers value for money in the light of actual experience.
Schemes which the Department would consider funding in this way would be subject to a number of conditions, details of which have been deposited in the Libraries of both Houses and will be made available on the Department for Transport’s website.