A cash injection of £60m has been awarded to Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) to aid in the completion of the next phase of the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill Metro extension, with the project being part of TfWM’s bid for government funding last October.
This funding has come from region's Deeper Devolution Deal, and following this success, TfWM will look to secure further funding needed to build and open the section of the route between Dudley town centre and Brierley Hill.
Cllr Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council, said:
“Today's announcement by the Chancellor is fantastic news for the borough, and hugely welcomed by this authority.
“We have always been absolutely committed to completing the Metro extension in full, and this £60 million will give us a real springboard to secure the rest of the cash we need to make the second phase a reality. It will also see cash come in to create jobs and breathe new life into the areas around the Metro routes.
“I've always been a big advocate in giving local politicians, who know their areas best, the power to make their own decisions regarding funding. The Deeper Devolution Deal announced today is a huge step in the right direction in that regard.”
Coming as a result of the rising construction costs and reduced fare income during the Covid 19 pandemic, the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) decided last year that the extension should be split into two segments. The initial phase is currently under construction and is estimated to open for passengers next year.
The second phase of the project will continue the line, providing a transport service to support local businesses whilst improving the interconnectivity of local residents, providing enhanced links to jobs and leisure opportunities in Dudley, West Bromwich, Wolverhampton and Birmingham.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, said:
“A number of public infrastructure projects are facing understandable cost challenges given the prevailing winds of inflation and supply chain pressures. Metro extension schemes are also subject to this wider context so we took the difficult decision last year to pause work on phase two whilst retaining our commitment to delivering the scheme.
“In our subsequent efforts to seek out the necessary funding, our newly negotiated Devolution Deal has provided a breakthrough. This additional £60 million from Government acts as a springboard for the completion of the scheme as it now puts us in a strong position to secure the remaining funding required to get this extension finished at the earliest opportunity.”
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