A BID for £3 billion in public transport improvements - including a congestion charge on roads into Manchester - will be backed by Bolton Council.

Councillors last night voted in favour of proposals by the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA).

They include a £23 million transport interchange near the Trinity Street train station, an 11-mile bus lane to Manchester and more carriages on trains.

Council and Labour group leader Cllr Cliff Morris tabled a motion backing the bid. He said: "Doing nothing about congestion is not an option. It would be wrong not to see what comes back from the Government, but if it is not in our interest, we will not proceed with it."

He said congestion charging in Bolton was not part of the bid, even though the town featured on an AGMA map of possible future schemes.

Labour councillors backed an amended motion tabled by Lib Dem Cllr David Wilkinson.

The Lib Dems backed the bid after leader Cllr Roger Hayes received assurances from the council's chief executive, Sean Harriss, that there would be more extensive consultation if the Government accepted the bid and that Bolton could pull out of the scheme later.

He said he did not believe the other Greater Manchester councils could impose the scheme on Bolton.

Cllr Hayes said: "Something has to be done about congestion and at the moment this is the only game in town. We can't say no to this £3 billion without knowing what it would mean and going to the next stage to find out more."

Conservative councillors voted against the bid and party leader Cllr John Walsh criticised the lack of consultation.

He said the interchange had already been included in the council's transport plan and the proposals for Bolton did not go far enough.

"I believe in investment in public transport but would never support stealth taxes imposed on the motorist," he said.

The council's executive committee will confirm Bolton's response to the bid on July 23.