A NEW West Yorkshire super council involving York will be formally established tomorrow - amid claims that it offers a once-in-a-generation chance to upgrade the outer ring road and build a city bus station.
City of York Council will be a partner member of the new West Yorkshire Combined Authority, a legal body which will manage investment worth £1.5 billion in transport and economic infrastructure.
Council leader James Alexander said the development marked the start of a new era of devolved government for local authorities and could allow £40 million of improvements to take place on York’s Outer Ring Road, including dualling of the busiest section to the north-west of the city.
It could also provide another £20 million for a long-awaited new bus station interchange to be built behind the railway station and for access into the York Central site to be improved.
"This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to improve York's transport infrastructure," he said.
He also said that in the long term, the move could pave the way for passengers to enjoy cheaper fares between York and cities in West Yorkshire such as Leeds.
"Partnering with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority allows us to strengthen the links between our key supply chains and shared markets, and enable vital improvements in the city’s transport and economic infrastructure."
Opposition councillors have attacked York's involvement in the West Yorkshire authority, claiming the city has closer links with North and East Yorkshire and should have sought to maintain those links.
They have also suggested York's voice in calling for investment might be drowned out by the larger authorities in West Yorkshire.
But Coun Alexander saidYork looked forward to working with the North Yorkshire LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) on seeking future avenues of funding and welcome the LEP's growth bid to government which would support the ring road improvements.
“The establishment of a Combined Authority represents a significant move forward in the economic ambition for this city, as a major economic player in the region," he said.