Town centre tram plan still on track

May 12, 2009 12:00 AM

Leader of Rochdale Council - Councillor Alan TaylorTransport planners are optimistic that Rochdale might still get Metrolink trams in the town centre.

Greater Manchester's council leaders have placed the scheme among a number of other transport plans that could be saved by the formation of a Greater Manchester Transport Fund which would collect money from various Government and local funds and borrow more for major projects.

Plans for a Metrolink line to Rochdale town centre via Drake Street were thrown up in the air following the collapse of its Transport Innovation Fund bid after the resounding "no" vote in the congestion charge referendum last December.

But trams could still enter the heart of Rochdale under the new proposals.

Rochdale's council leader Alan Taylor heard from officials at a meeting of the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities on Friday (8 May) that the most they can now raise for transport schemes would be £1.375bn.

It would cost £1.854bn to complete everything which had been planned before the referendum but Rochdale's Metrolink plan remains near the top of the Association's priorities.

Under a complicated formula to calculate economic, social, and environmental benefits of each of the individual plans, the Rochdale scheme falls within the priorities.

AGMA officials will continue to work on the various options for making up the shortfall from the loss of the TIF cash and believe their cause may be helped by the fact that Greater Manchester was named by the Chancellor as one of two trial areas to get "city region" status.