A NEW regional body, representing the Isle of Wight and the rest of the south east, hopes to directly influence how government cash is spent to improve transport issues.
Transport for the South East (TfSE) launched on Monday and will create an integrated transport strategy for the Island and the south east.
According to the Isle of Wight Council, the new partnership brings together the area’s 16 transport authorities and five local enterprise partnerships to work directly with the Department for Transport. 
"It will also involve road and rail-builders Highways England and Network Rail, transport operators, transport users and other key interest groups. A sub-national transport body, TfSE is currently operating in shadow form but intends to secure full government backing and statutory powers within two years," said a spokeswoman.
Cllr Ian Ward, cabinet member for infrastructure and transport, was at the launch and said: "The establishment of this strategic transport body gives us direct access to the government on most transport matters within our region and is a major step forward that should bring both direct and indirect benefits to the Island. 
"I believe the council made the correct decision to take an individual seat rather than be represented by a combined Solent council grouping who may not appreciate our specific concerns."