City of York Council has voted to back Transport for the North's (TfN) plan to submit draft proposals to Government to become the UK's first sub-national transport body (STB) under the 2016 Cities and Local Government Devolution Act.
But the city is demanding clarification on key concerns prior to any 'final and binding agreement' to become a constituent authority of the STB.
Chiefly, it wants clarifications of proposed voting arrangements on decisions, methods of raising statutory contributions from members and the financial and other liabilities that will be incumbent on both them and TfN itself.
The council has expressed serious concerns over plans for a simple, population-based method of weighted voting by TfN members.
It warns that such a system could lead to dominance by a small number of populous urban authorities. For example, the four combined authorities (Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, Liverpool and Sheffield) that lie along the South TransPennine (M62) corridor could outvote all the other TfN constituent authorities together.
'This could lead to an inappropriate concentration of investment in the area', it warns.
Cabinet member for transport, Cllr Ian Gillies told Transport Network: 'We see ourselves as being something of a standard bearer for other smaller authorities in the region. We shall be talking with them with a view to securing a more comfortable arrangement'.
At the current time TfN are seeking councils' agreement in principle to become constituent authorities of TfN and approval to submit the draft proposal to Government.
At this stage any decision 'does not irrevocably commit us to becoming a constituent authority' York said, but added that 'the final agreement to become a constituent authority of TfN is binding and there is no mechanism in the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act 2016 which would allow any constituent authority to leave the STB at a later date'.
Surveyor Events has confirmed a one-day conference in Manchester on 10 November specifically designed to prepare local government for the transition towards regional transport planning.
Successful Regional Transport 2016 will feature keynote speakers including David Brown, chief executive of Transport for the North and Cathy Miller deputy director for cities, policy and delivery at the Department for Transport.
Click here for the conference programme and to register.