Regional Funding Allocations for Transport
Danny Lamb, West Midlands Regional Assembly
This paper describes the process that the West Midlands Region followed to respond to the Regional Funding Allocations (RFA) process, to secure Government investment for transport.
Strategic Ambitions/Priorities for Transport
The Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS)and Regional Economic Strategy (RES)challenge is to modernise the transport infrastructure of the West Midlands and underpin the urban and rural renaissance ambitions:
Urban Renaissance,a high quality public transport for moving people and an efficient road network to allow for the movement of goods and services are essential to support the Major Urban Areas (MUAs) - particularly the network of centres and Birmingham Role as a World City.
Rural Renaissanc, a well connected hinterland and improved accessibility for market towns will support the rural economy and quality of life. These transport interventions depend on revenue funding (a funding stream that is not included in the RFA process).
Identifying Regional Transport Priorities
The Regional Transport Strategy (RTS)provides an integrated set of policies that will help to deliver the renaissance and economic change identified in the RSS and RES. The RTS includes Policy T12: Priorities for Investment, which provides a steer on identifying national, regional and sub-regional priorities.
Most of the schemes require capital funding and could be delivered by the RFA, but some are dependent on revenue funding, including behavioural change and rural/community transport measures. These measures depend on funding from other streams e.g. the Local Transport Plans and Regional Development Agencies.
While there are various rail schemes included in the RTS, it should be remembered that the current RFA guidelines do not include for rail investment, a significant gap in providing an integrated network.
Regional Transport Prioritisation Framework
In terms of the RFA guidelines, the measures identified in T12 do not describe the whole picture, 59 transport schemes were identified and tested against the Regional Transport Prioritisation Framework. The agreed technical approach for the Framework considers each scheme in terms of:
Contribution to Policy Objectives;
These have been combined to provide the Overall Assessment to determine where the scheme ends up i.e. Bands 1-6 (1 being highest).
The framework has assessed each scheme contribution to policy objectives against:
Spatial the RSS;
Economic - the RES;
Housing the old RHS; and
Social the RSDF.
The degree of contribution to policy objectives does affect which Band the scheme ends up in, BUT it is Efficiency, the Value for Money, the Benefit Cost Ratio, that is the major determining factor.
Short Term Funding Issues
Over the next few years there are 16 transport schemes, across the region, that have their funding committed. These schemes require circa 190m GBP 70%) of the 270m GBP allocated for transport to 2007/8. There are another 10 transport schemes that have provisional approval. The short term could be invested in these to honour their current status.
Longer Term Aspirations
Delivering the short term measures is a rolling out of the current thinking (there are many more than the 26 schemes referred to above that may have future demands on the RFA).
Longer term transport aspirations are strategic and integrated with the RSS/RES/RHS e.g:
Birmingham New Street station benefits the whole rail network, not just the West Midlands.
Access to Birmingham International Airport will have regional benefits, for the economy as well as transport.
While schemes that emerge from the Black Country Study will have significant benefits for the sub-region, enabling people to work and live in the MUAs.
Association for European Transport