Transport for the North (TfN) has been set a timetable for progress in this week's budget with the ultimate aim of a prioritised list of scheme options to be produced by budget 2016.
The Government, which also announced the body would be put on a statutory footing, said TfN must appoint an interim chief executive and executive team by the autumn and a chair by the end of the year, to accelerate its work programme.
Building on the Northern Transport Strategy that was jointly published by the government and TfN earlier this year, the body has been handed a £30m of additional investment over three years to support running costs and enable them to advance their work programme.
Treasury officials stated that 'one of the top priorities for TfN’s newly accelerated work programme' would be the introduction of Oyster-style smart and integrated ticketing across bus, tram, metro and rail services throughout the region.
Charles Johnson-Ferguson, partner at PwC, said: said he hoped these announcements 'could be the key to unlocking further transport investment in the North' but raised questions over TfN's exact role.
'It is not yet clear how TfN will interact with local authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships. These need to resolved quickly if there is to be a fully worked-up prioritised transport strategy by Budget 2016,' he said.