Thursday, 14 July 2011

County fails in bid for £5 transport funding

Cambridgeshire County Council has failed in its bid for £5 million of government money for community transport and cycling.

The decision undermines the Tory-run council’s feasibility of its already struggling Cambridgeshire Future Transport project.

And the Tories have left a question mark hanging over the future of bus services across the district after putting a hold on their decision to cut 100 per cent of bus subsidies but not completely rejecting the idea out of hand.

Susan van de Ven, Liberal Democrat Shadow Cabinet Member for Transport said: “This is a blow to prospects for community transport across the county.

“The blame must lay squarely with the fact that the Conservative's Future Transport initiative has operated on such a remote basis. It has banned local councillors from attending and deprived itself of vital information about building blocks for community transport that already exist in many parts of the county. This lack of knowledge has cost local people dearly."

Kilian Bourke, Liberal Democrat Leader said: “This news is very disappointing. The Conservative administration made the worst bus cuts in the country and reinvested the smallest amount, only 7 per cent, in community transport, so this funding was desperately needed.

“The failure to secure funding exposes the Conservative folly of cutting buses first and only thinking about how to replace them second. Slash and burn and then cobble back together is not a responsible transport strategy."

The county council has been invited to reapply for funding in February.