February 5, 2020 @ 8:56 by Richard Dawson
The Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority Cabinet have allocated £60 million worth of funding for schemes to improve transport links and bolster innovation across the region.
Of that figure, £39.4 million has been ring fenced for transport projects, such as the redevelopment of railway stations, improvements to bus services, and projects to encourage cycling and walking.
Railway stations that are set to benefit from the project include Hartlepool, Teesside International Airport, Billingham, and Eaglescliffe, with planned works consisting of but not limited to capacity improvements, disabled access, and redevelopment.
The remaining £19 million has been earmarked for investment to boost innovation across the region, including the creation of new facilities and activity, and enhancing the work of Tees Valley’s research and innovation centres, such as the Materials Processing Institute, CPI and TWI.
The £60 million funding pot will come from the £588 million Tees Valley Investment Fund, which was approved by the Tees Valley Mayor and Cabinet back in January 2019.
Mayor Ben Houchen said: “This massive funding commitment will touch on almost every aspect of transport and innovation in the region, in every corner of Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool.
“Earlier this week I announced a significant step forward had been made in the plans to transform Darlington Station and just seven days ago was announcing new flights for our airport.
“But making sure local people can get around easily and quickly across our region mean much more than that.
“These projects will address day-to-day issues in our network to make a direct and clear impact on peoples’ lives.
“Our clean growth aspirations, along with our expertise in life sciences and emerging digital sector represent the high-quality jobs of the future.
“To grab these with both hands, as well as to capitalise on the opportunities at the South Tees Development Corporation, we need to be investing now.”
It’s hoped that the planned transport projects will help people gain greater access to employment across Hartlepool, Middlesborough, and Darlington, as well as reducing the time spent commuting and improving the reliability of services at peak times.
Councillor Heather Scott, Tees Valley Combined Authority cabinet lead for transport, commented: “This transport investment is far-reaching and will help people and businesses travel in, out and across Tees Valley more smoothly than ever.
“We’re targeting public transport, sustainable travel and road improvements to go even further and make sure everyone has access to the jobs and opportunities we’re helping create.”
Mayor Andy Preston, cabinet lead for business growth and innovation, said: “We’ve got some fantastic organisations and businesses in Tees Valley, many of them leading the world in research and innovation.