WMCA agrees priorities for £1.3bn investment in region’s transport networks

More than 50 projects to improve road, rail, tram, bus, cycling and walking routes across the region have been agreed by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) Board.

The list of preferred schemes will now be submitted to the DfT for final approval, after which the full list will be published.

The wide-ranging plans include more than 100km of new segregated cycle routes, 50km of bus lanes and priority measures, a new railway station at Aldridge and the UK’s first very light rail line in Coventry City Centre.

Efforts to encourage greater use of electric vehicles to help the region meet the climate change challenge will be supported with a network of 1,600 car charging hubs and ten ultra-rapid charge points for charging on the go and to support users of vans and light goods vehicles.

Investment will also continue in the existing Metro system, with funding to be set aside to develop the business case and plan for the further extension of the Midland Metro along the Hagley Road, as well as the expansion of the tram depot in Wednesbury.

The schemes, to be developed over the next five years, will be funded from the £1.05bn City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement, which was awarded to the region by the Department for Transport (DfT) last year, topped up with local funding.

Schemes which promote the decarbonisation of transport, target investment into areas of poor connectivity and support inclusive growth have been prioritised – in line with policies outlined in the region’s draft Local Transport Plan which was also approved by the WMCA Board today.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and Chair of the WMCA, said: “This unprecedented investment will allow us to deliver more than 50 exciting projects as we continue to revolutionise and de-carbonise public transport across the West Midlands.

“From an expanded Metro network and new railway stations, to more cycle routes and better electric vehicle charging infrastructure, the schemes we have agreed today will benefit every area, with improved links for communities right across the West Midlands, whilst also tackling the climate change emergency by cutting down our carbon emissions.

“I know the team cannot wait to get started on these projects, and so once we have Government approval we will press on with getting diggers in the ground and people into work.”

Access to sustainable transport will be improved along key growth corridors including between Bordesley Green and Chelmsley Wood, Wolverhampton and Walsall, Dudley and Sandwell and Smethwick and Icknield.

Councillor Ian Ward, WMCA portfolio holder for transport and leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “The seven local authorities have worked together to produce a package which will ensure we get the most from this investment.

“It will deliver new work and leisure opportunities for our communities, improve our health, reduce traffic congestion, and accelerate our journey towards becoming a net-zero carbon region while fully integrating with our ongoing investment in rail, bus, Metro and cycling.”