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Transport funding of £385 million will move region towards growth and jobs…

Submitted by on July 9, 2014 – 5:55 am |

Cllr Roger LawrenceMore than £385 million of funding announced Monday July 7, for road, rail and tram schemes across the West Midlands will help secure future economic growth and jobs, transport chiefs have said.

The money, which has been awarded through the Government’s Local Growth Fund to the region’s three Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) – Greater Birmingham & Solihull – Black Country – Coventry & Warwickshire – will go towards a number of high profile transport projects.

These include further Midland Metro tram extensions through Birmingham city centre including along Broad Street to Five Ways and to the planned HS2 station in Eastside, upgrades to Wolverhampton and Coventry railway stations and improvements to M6 Junction 10 near Walsall.

The projects are the result of more than two years collaboration between the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority Shadow Board, which consists of the region’s seven council leaders, the LEPs and transport authority Centro to identify what schemes are needed and where.

Speaking on behalf of the Shadow Board, Wolverhampton City Council Leader , said: “If we are to safeguard and grow our economy then an efficient and affordable transport system is vital. Today’s funding announcement is a major step towards that goal and is warmly welcomed

“It also means we can now move forward on those schemes we have identified locally as being good for business, good for passengers and good for the environment.”

Subject to successful business cases, today’s funding announcement will see:

  • £100m towards new tram extensions linking Birmingham New Street Station with Centenary Square, Broad Street and Five Ways and with the planned HS2 station in Eastside.
  • £35m towards Sprint –  a rapid transit system using tram-style buses travelling west out of Birmingham city centre along Hagley Road to Quinton and south east along the A45 towards the airport
  • A further £4.5m for the upgrade of Wolverhampton railway station and the surrounding area including a Metro tram connection
  • £30m towards congestion-busting improvements to M6 Junction 10
  • £19m towards improving transport links from Coventry to UK Central/Birmingham Airport/HS2
  • Nearly £5m towards transport improvements for the Longbridge regeneration area including an upgrade to the railway station, new cycle routes and bus interchange

The funding package will also pay for a £2.6m upgrade of University railway station in Birmingham and make a further £12m available for the refurbishment of Coventry Station and its surrounding area. The funding means work on both these schemes can now start.

A number of the projects, such as the Metro extensions and Sprint are also part of the region’s HS2 Connectivity Package which has been drawn up to make sure the local transport network best connects and feeds into the forthcoming high speed rail line.

Research has shown that doing so can more than double the already significant economic benefits of HS2 and secure 51,000 new jobs for the region and a £4 billion a year boost to its economy.

Cllr Lawrence added: “This funding is a great start but we now want to see the Government provide the West Midlands with a solid, ten-year transport funding settlement.

“That is something London has enjoyed for some time now and we need the same here. It would enable us to plan and deliver new projects much more quickly and provide certainty around future transport schemes, helping to attract more inward investment.”

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