The East Birmingham to Solihull transport corridor has been ‘fast-tracked’ by the government, it has been announced.
Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng revealed that the Government plans to expedite several transport schemes in the West Midlands and ensure work gets underway before the end of 2023. The East Birmingham to Solihull corridor is one of several projects to be included. Others to be fast-tracked are the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill Metro extension and phase 2 of the Sprint rapid bus network.
The LDRS understands that the announcement made on Friday (September 23) refers to the Sprint bus network along the corridor, not to the metro extension. A West Midlands Combined Authority spokesperson said: “We are already looking at what the best transport solutions will be for the East Birmingham to Solihull corridor so that we can maximise economic growth and better connect people to jobs, education, health and leisure opportunities.
“While the best transport options have yet to be determined, this announcement is good news in that it will enable us to fast track the delivery of those options, once agreed.”
What has the West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said about this announcement?
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said the announcement was a ‘clear sign of government confidence’ in the West Midlands, and that ‘diggers will be in the ground on the majority of projects’ by the end of 2023.
He said: “The government has shown real ambition for growth and a clear commitment to the West Midlands – putting our region at the front of the queue for investment and project delivery here on the ground.
“We have also received a tremendous vote of confidence today in our infrastructure plans with the exciting news that a number of vital regional transport projects will be fast-tracked – so we can expect diggers in the ground on the majority of them by the end of 2023. I cannot wait to see local lives changed for the better and I look forward to working with the government to get this done.”
What have local councillors said about the transport developments in Solihull?
Cllr Mark Parker of Solihull council (Cons, Shirley East) said on Twitter: “Good news for Solihull, it will improve transport connectivity, boost jobs and promote economic growth in the north of the borough of Solihull.”
Cllr Ian Ward, West Midlands Combined Authority portfolio holder for transport and leader of Birmingham City Council, added: “Improvements to the rail, tram, cycling and walking network are vital if we are going to reduce private car use, improve our air quality and meet our net-zero carbon targets.
“So, we welcome the decision to accelerate key projects across the West Midlands, including more cross-city bus routes, the Metro extension to Brierley Hill and the development of sustainable transport networks along the East Birmingham and North Solihull corridor.”
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