OUR campaign supporting York's proposed bid for millions of pounds of Government funding to improve the city's transport system today won the backing of all the city's main political parties.

The Press's Access York campaign is calling on the regional transport board to back the planned bids for cash to improve the ring road and the Hopgrove roundabout.

It is also appealing to the board to throw its weight behind a bid set to be submitted this month for money to build three new Park&Ride sites in York.

Our petition - which we are urging readers to complete and return to us as soon as possible - has already secured the support of City of York Council's Liberal Democrat, Conservative and Green groups.

Coun David Scott, leader of York Labour Group, today said: "Labour is committed to supporting the principles of the Access York project bid. York is suffering from congestion that is becoming ever more problematic to residents of York and York's economy.

"We will therefore, through the bid, support the proposal that tackles congestion issues now and also in the longer term, so that in ten years' time we have a road network that is free moving rather than moving in the opposite direction towards gridlock."

Meanwhile, after a project that spanned more than two years, Richard Lane and Brenda Tyler, both of Fishergate, York, have given The Press their pamphlet making the case for a congestion charge in the city.

The pair said that any scheme would have to adopt a zoning approach - like the London Congestion Charge - by levelling charges at points or areas on the road network.

"If a shift away from private transport to an ever-improving public transport system were to be a political aim, a congestion charge would be the most effective way of achieving this," it said.

But council leader Steve Galloway said the current council policy was NOT to introduce a local congestion charge.

However, he said if the Government introduced a council-led road pricing scheme City of York Council would look at it "very carefully".

Coun Andy D'Agorne, leader of the council's Green Group, said if a charge was to be introduced in York there would have to be provisions made in terms of, for example, an increased number of Park&Ride sites.

He said the money from the charge would have to be set aside for public transport and cycle routes so that it was not just a tax.

The RAC Foundation, which aims to protect the interests of motorists, said congestion charging had a place as part of the means of tackling congestion, but that other things should be tried first.

Parking hope

A BID for cash to pay for three new Park&Ride sites in York will be submitted to the regional transport board next Friday - if the dossier is approved by councillors.

City of York Council has recommended that councillors endorse the submission of the bid, which could see new sites built at Askham Bar, on the A59 at Poppleton and on Wigginton Road.

If the bid were successful, a 1,250-space site could be built at Askham Bar, a 750-space site could go up on the A59 and a 500-space site could be put up on Wigginton Road, at Clifton Moor.