THE leaders of Greater Manchester’s 10 local authorities today voted an emphatic NO to the Transport Innovation Fund bid.

Last Friday, a referendum saw the public return a resounding “No” vote to the congestion charge.

Seven out of 10 “Yes” votes from the local authorities were needed to carry it through, but none of the council leaders chose to go against their electorate.

However, Bolton councillors have still pledged to fight for public transport improvements in the borough, despite the “No” vote halting the Government from investing £3 billion in Greater Manchester’s public transport network.

Councillors are drawing up a “shopping list” of improvements in the borough to be presented to Greater Manchester’s senior leaders.

The commitment was made at a meeting of Bolton Council’s executive committee, with councillors saying the new interchange remained a priority for the town.

Leader of Bolton Council Cliff Morris said: “The congestion charge is over and now we will be looking to work with the leaders of the other parties to push for investment into public transport for Bolton.

“Improvements are needed,given the development taking place in the town. This will be discussed with Greater Manchester Public Transport Executive and on a regional level.”

Under the Transport Innovation Fund (TIF) bid, which would have led to the implementation of a congestion charge, the borough would have received £9 million towards a £25 million bus-rail interchange already planned for Bolton town centre, enabling a more ambitious version to be built in 2010 rather than in 2012.

The TIF cash would have also paid for a new rapid-bus service between Bolton and Manchester, more frequent buses to Bury, Rochdale and Wigan, and improvements at train stations throughout the borough.

Cllr Roger Hayes, Liberal Democrats leader, said: “We need to prioritise a shopping list and put pressure on to get investment.”

While Cllr John Walsh, Conservatives leader, said that Government money put forward as part of the TIF bid should still be handed out.