MILLIONS of ballot papers which will determine whether a congestion charge is introduced in Greater Manchester, are being delivered today.

Residents of 10 boroughs in the region, including Bolton, will be asked whether they back the proposed levy in return for a £3 billion investment in the public transport network.

The papers will carry the question: “Do you agree with the Transport Innovation Fund proposals?” followed by “yes” and “no” options.

Completed declarations must be received by 10pm on Thursday, December 11, for votes to count and final results will be announced by the Returning Officer, Sir Neil McIntosh, on Friday, December 12.

Last night, the Leader of Bolton Council, Cllr Cliff Morris, urged every resident to cast their vote.

He said: “It’s very important to take part. I said at the start it will be the people who will decide and I hope as many people use their vote.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for investment in public transport in the region and I urge people to weigh up the pros and cons, come to a view and cast their vote, whether it be yes or no. We will go along with what the people decide.”

Around 1.9 million packs are being posted out. Everyone who is on the electoral register in each of the 10 Greater Manchester council areas will be eligible to vote. Every ballot pack should be delivered to homes by November 28 at the latest. Anyone who has not received a ballot form by then should call the free helpline on 0800 7839828.

Each pack contains a ballot paper, a declaration which must be signed by the voter and a leaflet giving information about the Transport Innovation Fund (TIF) proposals.

A maximum daily charge of £5 for Manchester city centre and inside the M60 motorway has been proposed as part of an application for the Government to invest £3 billion in public transport for the area.

For Bolton, the new proposals include plans to build a new transport interchange and improve facilities and car parking at Bromley Cross train station.

Across Greater Manchester as a whole, there are plans to simplify bus fares, cap ticket prices and introduce a low paid worker discount of 20 per cent during peak periods.

Campaign groups have been set up to both oppose and back the plans.On Friday, Bolton West MP Ruth Kelly joined members of the Yes Campaign to lobby train users at Westhoughton.

l See The Bolton News tomorrow for the views of Bolton’s three political group leaders.