West Midlands mayor Andy Street (pictured) has called on the prime minister to accelerate £4.2bn of transport funding to help combined authorities re-boot the economy after the lockdown.
In the Budget earlier this year, chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a £4.2bn devolved transport fund for the UK’s combined authorities - if split equally, the West Midlands would be guaranteed at least £500m, amounting to the largest single devolved sum it has ever received.
The cash was due to be released in the 2022/23 financial year, however Mr Street has asked the prime minister to bring that funding forward in light of the impact of COVID-19.
The mayor said he 'wants to inject cash quickly into major infrastructure projects' and has 'several shovel-ready schemes just awaiting funding, transport investment is seen as a critical part of the recovery'.
He also highlighted areas such as digital infrastructure, brownfield land housing, and electric vehicle charging points and technology, which are all primed and ready for investment in the West Midlands.
'We are in the process of drawing up our recovery plan, but it is clear that investment in infrastructure is going to play a critical role and it was good to press this point to the Prime Minister this morning,' Mr Street said.
'The Government has already committed funding to transport but we want to bring that forward and we also want to see investment in several other key sectors in the region, not least digital infrastructure and the automotive industry’s push towards electric and autonomous vehicle technology.'
Mr Street made the recommendations in a call with the prime minister.All of the M9 – the group comprised of the UK’s regional metro mayors – were on the call, and the group stressed the need for mayors to be able to lead the recovery for their regions.