To ask the Secretary of State for Transport
(1) what his Department's policy is on a Tees Valley light rail system; and if he will make a statement;
(2) what feasibility studies have been carried out by (a) his Department and (b) contractors on (i) funding models for a Tees Valley light rail system and (ii) the technical and operational possibility of linking the existing Tyne and Wear Metro system with a future Tees Valley light rail system; and if he will make a statement.
The Department for Transport recognises that light rail is popular with passengers, good for economic growth and good for reducing carbon, both key objectives of the coalition Government. Government funding for these types of schemes will, from 2015, be part of the Local Growth Fund and devolved to local enterprise partnerships.
The Government do not provide direct support to promoters for development work on light rail systems. It would be for the relevant authority to undertake any feasibility studies at its own cost The Department published a report in September 2011 on light rail with the aim of helping to make this mode more cost-effective in the future. The report is available on the Department's website.