Did you really think our Councillors would let us down and leave us high and dry once the TIF bid was rejected? Okay, you probably did, but they have actually been busying themselves behind the scenes to formulate a 'Plan B' for the future of Greater Manchester's public transport.
The Manchester Evening News' David Ottewell has got hold of the document that outlines their plans. The document lists the projects that the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) believe might actually see the light of day. An innovative new 'Greater Manchester Transport Fund' has been devised that would pool a wide range of funding, including Department for Transport Money and loans against future revenues from new Metrolink extensions, to ensure that a number of the TIF projects are realised. AGMA believe this fund could boost the region's growth rate by 20%.
Projects considered top priority include Metrolink extensions from Chorlton to East Didsbury, Rochdale Station to Rochdale town centre and Droylsden to Ashton-under-Lyne, the Leigh-Salford-Manchester guided busway and "elements" of the cross-city bus package which would see new routes introduced linking Wilmslow Road with Salford Crescent and Chorlton with Middleton among other new links. Controversially, the other top-priority projects all involve new roads being built, including bypasses in Mottram and Ashton-under-Lyne.
Projects deemed less-essential include the Metrolink extensions to the Airport, new interchanges for Bolton and Altrincham. Depending on funding these projects could still go ahead but improvements to rail stations, a new interchange for Stockport and a Metrolink extension to Trafford Park all look unlikely.
It's all very promising but there's a long road ahead. As David Ottewell says, the meeting on Friday where this was all discussed was "Very polite" and "Very little was decided".
[Image credit: Frankie Roberto on Flickr]