The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has agreed a £3.4bn transport blueprint for the coming decade, with an additional, albeit currently unfunded, £165m programme to deliver new cycle networks.
The 2026 Delivery Plan for Transport, which sets out a high level programme of infrastructure projects up to 2026, was prepared by Transport for West Midlands, the WMCA’s transport arm.
A (computer generated) Midland Metro tram at Deritend, Birmingham
It aims to see tram extensions, new suburban rail lines, cycle routes and motorway improvements costing £3.4bn built over the coming decade.
This will be the first delivery phase of a longer-term 20-year strategy to improve transport across the region and ensure it is ready for the arrival of HS2 - scheduled to begin services from two new stations in Birmingham in 2026.
Cllr Roger Lawrence, lead member for transport for the WMCA and leader of City of Wolverhampton Council, said: ‘Now that this blueprint has been approved we can get to work in putting it into action.
‘These are exciting schemes that will transform transport in our region and steer investment here to create new jobs and homes, building on the significant growth and development that is already happening through HS2.’
He added: ‘I am particularly pleased at how the views of the public helped shape this final plan, that sort of input is key in helping us deliver what people need.’
The WMCA said a key response from a six-week online public consultation was a demand for a bigger role for cycling alongside the proposed schemes.
As a result, a £165m Strategic and Local Cycle Network Development Programme was added to existing cycling schemes in the plan. Funding for this is now being pursued.
The strategic programme of schemes is divided into three sections:
- more than £3bn of committed schemes that are wholly or substantially funded
- a pool of potential schemes for which funding will be sought
- a set of longer-term studies and proposed projects