A project to expand a freight and logistics hub has won a £9m share of the Regional Growth Fund.
The £1.4bn fund, to boost the private sector and create jobs, was set up by the government after Regional Development Agencies were scrapped.
The money was awarded to the Mersey Multimodal Gateway (3MG) partnership to help it develop the rail infrastructure in the region.
The partnership is between Stobart, Prologis and Halton Borough Council.
It said it would create up to 5,000 new jobs for local people, attract more blue-chip retailers to the borough and make the movement of freight more sustainable.
Councillor Rob Polhill, leader of Halton Borough Council, said: "The announcement is tremendous news for 3MG and Halton.
"It will allow the continuation of the Mersey Multimodal Gateway which will secure thousands of new jobs for local people."
Simon Jenkins, senior vice president at Prologis, said: "Rail freight has an important role to play in the distribution of goods to, from and within the UK, so we are delighted to see that the government is actively supporting the principle of moving freight from road to rail."
The announcement was also welcomed by Freight on Rail, a partnership of the rail freight operators, Rail Freight Group, Network Rail, the transport trade unions and Campaign for Better Transport.
Philippa Edmunds from the group said: "This project ticks all the right economic, environmental and safety boxes, creating green jobs in a region which needs government regeneration support."
She added: "Shifting long-distance freight off the road on to rail, which produces 70% less carbon dioxide emissions than the equivalent road journey, is essential if we are to reduce transport's carbon emissions by 80% by 2050.
"Long-distance road freight needs to be transferred to rail and water by 2050 in order to fight climate change effectively."