Councillors asked to back regional transport scheme

Councillors asked to back regional transport scheme

Plans for Bath & North East Somerset to join forces with other South West authorities to improve roads and rail transport across the region are going before the council’s cabinet.

Councillor Mark Shelford, cabinet member for Transport and Environment is taking a proposal, for Bath & North East Somerset Council to join a regional transport body, to cabinet when it meets on September 5.

A report says the council would join forces with immediate neighbours Bristol, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset and Wiltshire as well as with areas further afield – from Poole and Bournemouth to the south and Gloucestershire to the north.

Together, these areas would form a new Western Gateway Shadow Sub-national Transport Body to speak with one voice to central government on strategic transport planning.

The body’s role would include shaping schemes and assisting Government in prioritising investment in transportation projects that improve travel across the South West and beyond. It would influence allocation of a new National Roads Fund set to be introduced in 2020/21.

Among the shared priorities of the new body being presented to Bath & North East Somerset Council’s cabinet are better journey time reliability, and improved access to ports and airports including Bristol International Airport.

Councillor Shelford said: “Environmentally sustainable transport, both infrastructure and transport systems, is a key issue for Bath & North East Somerset.  We must work closely with other councils and partners to make sure we have the infrastructure we need for a sustainable economy, prosperity and the future resilience.

“I, therefore, welcome this proposal to make sure we have a strong voice at the table to influence transport priorities, whether that means improving access to Bristol International Airport or better rail connections. This proposal also builds on our excellent relationship with the West of England Combined Authority which has recently seen investment in tackling local pinch points such as at the A39 Two Headed Man and I look forward to being able to work collaboratively with Government on attracting additional investment in the wider region’s infrastructure.”

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