South Yorkshire should get £220m for better transport automatically after devolution breakthrough, says metro mayor Dan Jarvis

Vital transport funding worth nearly a quarter of a billion pounds should be awarded to the Sheffield City Region as of right after local leaders moved to within touching distance of a devolution deal, according to the area's metro mayor.

Dan Jarvis is waiting to hear from the Government how much of his bid for £220m to be spent on better connecting residents to jobs and services he will get from the £2.5bn Transforming Cities Fund (TCF)

Areas with fully implemented devolution deals share half the total value of the fund to use as they see fit, but the Sheffield City Region and West Yorkshire have to bid for a share of the other half as neither has reached an agreement with government to hand over powers and resources.

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Sheffield City Region metro mayor Dan Jarvis

Mr Jarvis says that now a devolution deal for South Yorkshire is close to being agreed he should be granted his transport wishlist automatically like metro mayors in Greater Manchester and the West Midlands.

A public consultation into the Sheffield City Region's devolution deal worth £900m over three decades was launched last week after local leaders in Barnsley, Sheffield, Doncaster and Rotherham finally reached an agreement following months of wrangling. It could be passed into law by June.

When the TCF was launched in 2017, the Sheffield City Region's failure to agree a devolution deal meant it wasn't considered as one of the areas to get a share of the funding as of right. Mr Jarvis was elected the following year but with few powers or resources.

Treasury Minister Simon Clarke. Pic: Simon Hulme

He told The Yorkshire Post: "I'm the only mayor who's had to bid into that pot of money, all of the others got it as a right. I've had to draw together a very strong bid and that's exactly what we've done.

"I believe now that there are no barriers that would prevent national government from giving us what is a very significant amount of money, a quarter of a billion pounds of transport infrastructure investment that we desperately need. I think should now be unlocked as a consequence of us reaching agreement with devolution."

The bid focuses "on better connecting residents to jobs and services and would making significant improvements across rail, public transport and active travel schemes".

Mr Jarvis hopes the money will help pay for improvements such as 24km of improved walking and cycling infrastructure, 12km of new bus lanes, two new tram-train park and ride sites and better facilities at 13 local rail stations.

Among the other areas bidding for funding is West Yorkshire, where the combined authority is asking for around half a billion pounds to pay for a range of improvements.

Treasury Minister Simon Clarke appeared to play down the possibility of South Yorkshire being reconsidered ahead of budget in March, where a number of key infrastructure projects are expected to be announced.

He told The Yorkshire Post: "The issue is that when it was announced in 2017, the devolved funding was given to those areas which already had mayoralties and that process is now two-and-a-half years ago that was done. We can't unwind that, the competition will stay.

"But what I can say is that Sheffield's bid is strong and they are well placed, so it is fair to say that I hope there will be good news.

"When we look forward to future funding allocations, clearly the fact that there's devolution now, almost to use the Prime Minister's phrase 'oven-ready', in fact I think the oven's pinged, there is no question in mind that that will be borne in mind for future of settlements as well."