Cllr Roger Lawrence re-elected as Chair of West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority…
Councillor Roger Lawrence has been re-elected as Chair of the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority (ITA).
Cllr Lawrence, who is leader of Wolverhampton City Council, was returned unanimously at a meeting of the ITA in Birmingham on Wednesday (June 24).
The Vice-Chair is Cllr Bob Sleigh, the leader of Solihull Council, who was also returned unanimously.
Cllr Lawrence said the ITA would continue to work towards attracting greater investment to the West Midlands and working as a Combined Authority.
He said: “The ITA will set the transport agenda for this region, speaking with one voice with a view to winning greater investment from Whitehall and seizing the opportunities a Combined Authority might offer.
“Doing so will devolve more expenditure down to a local level from London and also address the imbalance in spending on public transport in this region compared to the capital.”
The meeting also saw the appointment of Cllr John McNicholas as Chair of the ITA’s Transport Delivery Committee (TDC).
The TDC will oversee Centro’s role in delivering major public transport schemes and ensure improvements to bus, rail and tram services.
Cllr Lawrence said the ITA would continue to work on developing the 10 year Strategic Transport Plan it launched in November 2014.
This aims to help the region fulfil its true economic potential be developing better transport connections, especially those brought by HS2, to grow the local economy and create new jobs and housing.
The ITA has also identified the Midlands Connect project as a priority. This involves the West and East Midlands working together to press for more strategic transport investment in the region’s roads, rail and freight networks.
Midlands Connect also aims to ensure the right links to HS2 are provided so the region as a whole can maximise the significant economic benefits offered by the high speed line.
The ITA comprises the leaders of the seven Metropolitan Authorities of Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton councils.
It also includes a non-voting representative from the Local Enterprise Partnerships of the Black Country, Coventry & Warwickshire, and Greater Birmingham & Solihull.
Cllr Lawrence said the ITA was building a firm foundation of collaboration as the region moves towards establishing the West Midlands Combined Authority next year.
“When it comes to transport we are already working as a Combined Authority and doing so is giving the region a powerful voice,” he said.
“By working together on transport we can help the region deliver those schemes that can best secure our plans for economic growth.”
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