TOWN Hall bosses have promised to go with the public on the Transport Innovation Fund bid and congestion charge.

With the vote just two months away, council leader Bob Bibby says people’s views on the £2.8 billion scheme will be paramount.

“Whatever the results, I have given my word: we will uphold the democratic vote and fall in line with what the electorate wants, not the council,” he told last Wednesday’s executive.

However, fears were expressed that a ‘yes’ vote might still not be enough.

Remarks attributed to transport secretary Ruth Kelly at the Labour party conference suggested that the Government would still have to approve it.

Coun Sam Cohen said: “This process has already cost us millions of pounds, at a time of scarce resources. I hope it’s not an exercise in futility. It may also put people off voting if it’s not going to happen.”

The all-postal referendum will be held on December 11, and decided by a simple majority of the votes cast. The results will say how residents in each of the ten Greater Manchester districts voted.

Each council leader will then meet at the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) and cast his borough’s formal vote. Seven of the ten council leaders need to agree the Transport Innovation Fund (TIF) bid.

Labour leader Wayne Campbell said: “I welcome the fact that the people of this borough are given the chance to vote, and I congratulate AGMA for being brave enough. It’s a massive decision. I hope that people look at the benefits, and the non-benefits, and vote.”

Coun Bibby did say that it seemed ‘unfair’ that so much money was being spent on a ‘yes’ campaign, but not on a ‘no’ vote.

The TIF scheme will provide £2.8 billion for public transport in the region. Around £1.2 billion of it has to be paid back through a congestion charge, running during weekday rush hours through two rings around the city.