Ministers have earmarked £20.1m for mass rapid transport projects connecting the east and south of Reading to the town centre and £2.9m to help build a new park and ride facility at Thames Valley Park.
The measures were revealed in the Thames Valley Berkshire LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) Growth Deal, announced on Monday, which will see £96.9m invested in business-boosting schemes across the county by 2017.
As part of the deal the Department for Transport will work on breaking the deadlock between Reading, Wokingham and Oxfordshire councils over a third Thames bridge and Network Rail will explore the introduction of semi-fast services between Reading and London.
Reading East MP Rob Wilson said: “This is a big boost to a better connected Reading. By delivering infrastructure commitments like these we are sending a strong message to the business community at home and abroad, that Reading is a great place to do business and a great place to headquarter your firm.”
Reading College will also become one of three 'solutions labs’ – designed to promote growth-boosting skills – with money being pumped into its engineering and science departments.
Meanwhile the long-awaited Green Park station will create a direct link between Reading Football Club’s Madejski Stadium and the town centre.
Reading West MP Alok Sharma said: “I am particularly pleased at the confirmation of funding for the railway station at Green Park business park in my constituency as well as funding for local 'solutions labs’ to assist with growing the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skill base and enhancing business support.”
The funding is subject to conditions that will be hammered out by the Government and the LEP in the coming months, and all of the projects will have to go through the council’s planning process.
LEP chairman Steve Lamb said: “This deal will enable the LEP and its partners to improve connectivity across its towns, reduce congestion, and unlock private sector investment essential to economic growth.
“We will continue to work with government in order to secure funding for those projects and work streams that were not included in this current round of growth fund allocations.”