BUDGET Breaking: city regions will receive £6.9bn to spend on train, tram, bus and cycle projects

Budget City regions investment

In his budget today, Rishi Sunak has revealed city regions will receive £6.9bn to spend on train, tram, bus and cycle projects. This includes £1.05 billion for the West Midlands and £540 million for a fully prioritised bus route between Bristol and Bath.

However, the figure of £6.9 billion only includes £1.5 billion of additional spending because the government is including the £4.2 billionn promised in 2019 alongside funding for buses announced by the prime minister last year, according to BBC analysts.

Hundreds of millions of pounds will now be used to kickstart a wide range of projects from new Metro tram extensions to more electric vehicle charging points in a move to decarbonise the region’s transport system, create new jobs and opportunities for local people and bolster the fight against climate change.

Moves towards a zero-carbon transport network would also be accelerated with the installation of 1,000 electric vehicle charging points, as well as ultra-fast charging facilities for electric heavy goods vehicles, vans and buses. A raft of new safe cycling routes would also be developed to encourage people to be more active on their commute.

Following today’s £1bn announcement the region will now begin working up details of the projects that will be taken forward and presented back to the DfT.

This funding will cover five years from April 2022 and over the next few weeks Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), which is part of the WMCA, will work with the DfT, local councils and transport industry partners to develop a detailed plan for investment.

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “I am absolutely delighted that our ambition has paid off and we’ve secured more than £1billion of Government investment to continue our transport revolution here in the West Midlands.

“It is the largest single transport sum we have ever received, and I know the team cannot wait to press on and start getting diggers in the ground on some truly game-changing schemes.

“From more Metro lines and train stations, to new bus routes and EV charging points, this cash will help us to continue to build a clean, green transport network that connects communities and tackles the climate emergency.”

Cllr Ian Ward, WMCA portfolio holder for transport and leader of Birmingham City Council, added: “The people and communities of the West Midlands must be at the heart of the government’s levelling up agenda and, of course, we would have liked to have seen more funding for our ambitions for the region.

“That said, it will nevertheless help us make a real difference to our communities, as we work on better connections to improve access to jobs and attract further investment.

“Projects like the extension of our Metro network will also encourage more people to leave their cars at home, improving the air we breathe and we’re committed to making this funding work for the people of this region.”

The WMCA and partners are meanwhile seeking additional funding opportunities through other government sources such as the Levelling Up Fund and the Bus Service Improvement Plan to support projects which cannot go forward through CRSTS.