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In September 2018, Portsmouth City Council and Hampshire County Council were one of twelve city regions shortlisted to bid for a share of the Department for Transport's £1.28 billion Transforming Cities Fund, for public transport improvements across South Hampshire.

Building on the success of the Star and Eclipse, the Hard Interchange and Portsmouth Park & Ride, the Transforming Cities Fund will enable the next phase of the South East Hampshire Rapid Transit network.

This bid is part of an ambition to deliver a multimodal travel system, centred on a network of bus priority routes facilitating rapid transit services, linking communities in Gosport, Fareham, Havant, Waterlooville and Isle of Wight with Portsmouth. 

By progressing to the next stage of the funding process, Portsmouth, working in partnership with Hampshire County Council and the Isle of Wight Council, will now have an opportunity to bid for a share of £1.28 billion to deliver this critical infrastructure for Portsmouth and the wider Solent area.

The Department for Transport released two waves of funding for the Transforming Cities Fund. First, shortlisted cities could bid for ‘quick wins’ - projects that can begin in the financial year 2018/19 and support the overall bid. The Portsmouth and South East Hampshire City Region business cases were successful for the 'quick win' funding, and received the full ask of £4 million of the initial fund. From this 'Tranche 1' funding £2.6m will be spent on three junction improvements in Portsmouth and Real Time Information installation at bus stops across Portsmouth, Havant and Waterlooville. A further £1.4m will be used to support the extension of the existing Eclipse bus route in Gosport.

Work continues on the development of the Portsmouth City Council, Hampshire County Council and Isle of Wight Council joint bid to the larger pot of funding known as 'Tranche 2'. This is due for final submission on the 28 November 2019.