Barnsley Council is bidding for £43m as part of the Transforming Cities Fund, with the A61 from Barnsley to Wakefield, A635 and A633 in the Dearne Valley in line for a raft of improvement work.
While boosting active travel - walking or cycling - forms a key part of Barnsley’s bid to the government, creating bus corridors and making railway stations more attractive to potential commuters are also high on the agenda.
The council’s strategy is to reduce pollution levels and bosses are aiming to achieve a zero carbon borough by 2040 - ten years sooner than the government is aiming for nationally - as air pollution has been cited as the fourth biggest threat to public health after cancer, heart disease and obesity.
Wednesday’s cabinet meeting was told that many commuters’ journeys are less than five miles, so the council believes enticing them to ditch cars in favour of public transport, or active travel, will help towards that.
Coun Chris Lamb said: “Fundamental to the air quality ambitions we’ve set out in recent months are public transport and active travel, so this would give us the opportunity to make some significant differences.
“You can have an ambition to reach carbon neutral whenever you want but the important thing is to take carbon and other pollutants out of the air as quickly as we possibly can.”
If Barnsley’s bid is approved, the work will have to take place within a four-year period, according to Coun Tim Cheetham.
He added: “Officers have been working with Sheffield City Region and the Department for Transport to refine the draft outline business case with a view to submitting a final business case by November 28.
“The interventions seek to increase overall levels of public transport usage, increase the numbers of people walking and cycling, and have a positive impact in time over congestion, meet air quality targets and improve the health and well-being of residents.
“It is a major step change in the direction to encouraging active travel and modal shift throughout the borough, and this could impact on the traditional car user, traffic and car journey times.
“There is a tight timescale on this.
“It needs to be in, out and spent all within four years.”