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Transport for South Hampshire (TfSH) has been successful in its bid to the Department for Transport for £18 million of funding from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund.
The partnership is one of only two bidders, nationally, to have been awarded the full value of their bid. TfSH is a partnership between Hampshire County Council, Isle of Wight Council, Southampton City Council and Portsmouth City Council covering the Solent area, and was one of only 13 areas in the UK to have made the final selection invited to produce a full business case to the Department for Transport.
The Government funding will fund travel improvements to tackle congestion and support economic growth in South Hampshire. It will contribute to an overall £31 million package of measures to increase the number of people travelling on foot, by bicycle, bus or rail and, in doing so, reduce overall traffic congestion.
The balance of funding is to be generated from developer contributions and support from local bus operators, who will be working in partnership with TfSH to deliver smart ticketing.
The money will be used to fund:
* a smart ticket for bus and ferry travel in South Hampshire
* 'Travel Choice' initiatives aimed at encouraging more people to use alternative ways to travel over the car, including walking and cycling, which will save them both time and money
* provision of Real Time Passenger Information providing up to the minute details of expected arrival times for public transport
* bus priority schemes
* and cycling and walking initiatives such as off-road dedicated cycle ways.
Councillor Mel Kendal, Chairman of Transport for South Hampshire and Executive Member for Environment and Transport at Hampshire County Council, said: "This funding will enable us to put a number of wide ranging initiatives in place to significantly improve how people can travel around, to work, to school or college and for shopping and leisure - all of which are essential to the economic success of South Hampshire in the future, and in turn the South East.
"We need to help South Hampshire's residents and businesses by ensuring people can get to areas of employment, training and education in a reliable way and one that is cost effective for them. It is important that they have options and information available, and we need to do whatever we can to tackle congestion to ensure South Hampshire keeps moving not only to safeguard the quality of life we are rightly proud of, but also to position this area as one that is economically competitive. Improving the ability to get around is key to the economic prospects of this area.
"We have calculated that in excess of 1500 jobs could be created as a result of this investment over the next 14 years."
Cllr Jason Fazackarley, Cabinet Member for Traffic and Transportation at Portsmouth City Council, said: "This is brilliant news. It will help tackle congestion, improve journeys for people cycling or using public transport, and be good for the environment. Portsmouth has already been given £5m of local sustainable transport funding, so this is a great opportunity to make transport work better at local and regional levels."
Councillor Asa Thorpe, Southampton City Council's Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport said: "What a fantastic boost to our efforts in Southampton to build the green economy, beat traffic congestion and encourage people to make more journeys on foot, by bike and by public transport.
"Specifically for Southampton, this grant will enable us to kick start the much needed improvements to the northern side of the railway station, provide real time information at bus stops and improve routes for cyclists.
"The success of our joint bid speaks volumes for the collaborative way in which our authorities are working together and the efforts of our professional officers in these challenging times."