West Midlands considers new transport fund to deliver £6.5bn plan


A new transport investment fund could be established in the West Midlands through local business and other levies, as part of a £6.5bn 20-year plan outlined by regional bosses.

The West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority (ITA) aims to more than double the annual transport spend in the region from the current £130m to more than £300m every year for the next 20 years.

Bosses at the ITA highlight that this amount is currently being invested in Manchester, an area of similar population size, and stress that the West Midlands population is set to grow by 411,000 people by 2035.

A new report Movement for Growth put out to public consultation details the plans, which include proposals to create a fully integrated rail and rapid transit network that connects main regional centres and a wider local bus network through multi-modal interchanges.

The report calls for a ‘new West Midlands Transport Investment fund, established to finance the cost of transformational projects which are difficult to deliver with conventional UK funding of metropolitan transport’.

‘The fund will be based on locally raising the equivalent of £3.50 every month from every adult in the west midlands metropolitan area to give a stable sum in the region of £60m every year over the long-term.

‘Sources of this funding will be existing and future businesses, developers and residents and will be based on mechanisms being developed by the combined authority work and the HS2 connectivity programme,’ the report states.

Other proposed sources of funding include cash from Network Rail, which could be critical in developing the suburban rail routes, as well as public health funding for cycling and walking infrastructure.

The document works on four different tiers – national and regional, metropolitan, local and a smart mobility layer calling for the use of technology to better manage and integrate traffic and transport needs.

Each of the tiers has a shopping list of schemes attached, including smart motorway upgrades, wider use of the M6 toll and junction upgrades at the national, regional level.

The metropolitan and local levels are based around the HS2 connectivity plans and a modal shift on to public transport across an integrated network using smart ticketing.

An end goal of the plan is to increase the number of people who are within 45 minutes travel time by public transport to a minimum of three centres and the two HS2 stations.

The consultation runs until Friday 16 October. For more details see here


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