Been talking to a few Greater Manchester MPs over the past couple of days - from the Yes and the No camps - about the congestion charge vote and the knock-on implications for other cities bidding for TIF money to invest in public transport. From what I gather, the Yes campaign didn't put its case together very well - most people were left with the impression they'd be paying for something without seeing any benefit themselves.
This was true in some areas. Some boroughs, or parts of boroughs, would have been hit by the charge but weren't getting any public transport improvements, but in other areas, such as Ian McCartney's seat in Wigan it would have made a huge difference to the rail infrastructure, with plans for a new station in a part of his seat that isn't served by rail or buses at the moment, and more. He's now doing his best to push for that investment to go ahead anyway.
Another Labour MP told me that the campaign wasn't localised until the last moment, so some people didn't even realise they wouldn't be affected by the charge. Pensioners were voting against the proposals, even though they didn't drive cars and would have benefitted from the Metrolink extension. Also, it just wasn't the right moment to propose introducing what was seen as a tax by any other name.
Can't see any other city holding a referendum or pushing for a congestion charge now... So where does that leave the funding that was not quite conditional on having a congestion charge, but linked the availability of money for investment in public transport with measures to reduce congestion at peak times, on busy roads? No-one's too sure at the moment.
I think I'm right in saying that only Cambridge and Greater Bristol (sorry, I mean C.U.B.A.) are still actively looking at this... Nottingham is going for workplace parking schemes instead. There's a lot riding on it, for Bristol and the other three authorities.
Incidentally my blogging colleague Andrew Gwynne had a poll on his website, which almost perfectly predicted the results in the two boroughs straddled by his constituency. Also interesting to note that the turnout was higher than in the last two General Elections in his seat.