'Devolution is working for West Yorkshire' said Tracy Brabin. Credit: WYCA

Mayor signs off WYCA budget

Tracy Brabin, mayor of West Yorkshire, has officially approved a planned spend of £866m over the next year, with transport marked out as a priority.

Long-term planning for the Mass Transit project will continue, as will funding for the £2 “mayor’s fares” capped bus tickets across the Combined Authority area.

A strategic outline case for mass transit will be made to the Department for Transport by the end of March, with a decision expected by August – at this point WYCA will begin compiling the outline business case.

The budget also includes extra funding to help improve bus services, support cultural events such as Bradford 2025 and improve access to jobs and skills for people across the region.

Brabin said: “Devolution is working for West Yorkshire and I am proud of the work we have done over the past year to drive economic growth, boost skills, and lay the groundwork for an accessible and reliable public transport network.

“But we should be under no illusions about the financial challenges facing our local authority partners. We are supporting where we can but town halls must be properly funded by government to deliver frontline services, otherwise our potential will be held back.

“This balanced and fair budget that we have agreed today will deliver on our long-term plan and lasting change for the people of West Yorkshire as we create a region that works for all.”

Just short of £50m is committed to mass transit at this point, a £127m is earmarked for transport operations and passenger experience and £223m for transport policy and delivery, which covers a wide range of highways and rail projects.

In a report prepared for WYCA’s meeting on 1 February, attention was also drawn to the partnership agreed with Homes England and the stepping up of WYCA’s affordable homes programme, with 800 homes now started.

In all, £500m is committed to infrastructure, WYCA said.

Further details of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority budget can be found here.

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