Six Scottish councils are launching a bid for £1bn of city deal cash, with transport and infrastructure improvements emerging as central to the plans.
Edinburgh, Scottish Borders, Fife and the Lothian areas are uniting to develop a funding deal with the Scottish and UK Government, which could see the region launching major expansions surrounding local airports and railway lines.
A £1.13bn City Deal has already been signed with neighbouring Glasgow City Council, which has outlined plans for two decades of projects designed to boost the local economy.
The Edinburgh City Region has outlined how a funding deal would support town halls to exploit technology and innovation in key sectors. Town hall chiefs believe an additional £3.2bn of private investment could be levereged by the city deal funding, creating tens of thousands of jobs and providing a sustainable 5% uplift to the local economy.
Speaking on behalf of the six local authorities, City of Edinburgh Council leader, Andrew Burns, said: ‘I am delighted to be working with our five neighbouring local authorities to pursue a deal for the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region.
‘In creating this fund, we want to build on our strengths whilst tackling persistent pockets of inequality and other constraints that threaten to hold the region back.
‘Our next step will be to seek UK and Scottish Government agreement on the development of a detailed proposition; one that we believe can unlock billions of pounds of potential infrastructure investment, thereby ensuring the continued growth and reduction in inequality across one of Europe's most successful city region economies.’
Edinburgh Airport is expected to be a central part of plans to increase transport connections to the region, with a pipeline of new road and rail developments supporting nearby residential developments.
The £294m Borders Railway could also become a focus for improvement, while light transport links have also gained support from city leaders.