MULTI-MILLION pound plans to dual sections of York's congested outer ring road are set to be drawn up after £164,000 was released from council coffers to advance the next phase of Access York.

City of York Council - backed by The Press - won approval from the regional transport board for the first phase of its congestion-busting scheme earlier this month.

This was a bid for £26.2 million to fund three new Park&Ride sites in Wigginton Road, Askham Bar, and on the A59 at Poppleton.

The next goal for council bosses is to secure up to £160 million of Government funding to upgrade York's outer ring road.

Today, members of the executive committee agreed to release £164,000 from the council's contingency funds to develop this bid, which will go before the regional transport board in October.

Some of this money will also be used to further develop the Park&Ride scheme bid to make sure it wins central Government approval next February.

Coun Ann Reid, executive member for city strategy, said she was confident it would not be turned down.

She said: "The officers produced not just a good bid, but an excellent bid and I think it would be almost unthinkable that the Department for Transport will turn it down because if they don't approve this one, they couldn't approve any of the other bids that that the regional transport board approved."

The third prong of the Access York scheme is a £7 million bid to upgrade the A64 and A1237/A1036 Hopgrove and Malton Road roundabouts. This will go before the regional transport board in July.

Coun Steve Galloway, leader of City of York Council, said: "This is a source of serious irritation and congestion in the city and there is still a strong possibility that we will be able to add this into the programme as well."

Improving public transport in the city by introducing a new method of payment called the Yorcard is another important aim of Access York.

The £28 million initiative, whereby bus, train and tram customers would have a smartcard to store electronically entitlement to travel, won approval from the regional transport board earlier this month.

Coun Galloway said: "Being able to travel on public transport without having to make cash payments is the kind of revelation that will encourage more and more people to use public transport because it is so much more convenient."