Councillors question local funding options for Bristol BRT routes.

Labour members of Bristol City Council have urged council leaders to focus on improving the city’s rail network ahead of ambitious plans for a Bus Rapid Transit network.

It follows the news that the city council is examining a variety of funding options, including a workplace parking levy, an increase in Council Tax or a Supplementary Business Rate in order to fund a series of planned transport improvements in the region.

Bristol and neighbouring authorities have offered to contribute 40% of the cost of a variety of transport schemes in order to persuade the Department for Transport to approve capital funding.
Bristol’s share of the package includes bus-based rapid transit schemes linking Ashton Vale with Bristol city centre; North Fringe to Hengrove; and the South Bristol Link road, which includes BRT elements.

The three projects are among 45 schemes in the DfT’s development pool with £630m of funding available. This figure was cut from £945m last year in order to incentivise local authorities to cut costs and increase local financial contributions. Best and final offers must be submitted next week with a final decision made by ministers in December.

Mark Bradshaw, Labour’s transport spokesman on the city council questioned the planned “tax”. “This again proves they [the council] lack any credibility in tackling Bristol’s chronic transport problems,” he added.

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