The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has approved a budget of more than £900m to support the region’s post-Covid 19 economic recovery and to help protect the environment. The budget includes funding for infrastructure, regeneration and job training schemes.
A package of major transport projects will help drive economic growth and cleaner air across the West Midlands, and allocated funding will unlock and transform the region’s derelict industrial sites for new, energy efficient homes and jobs, relieving pressure on the green belt.
Projects to be funded from the £900m budget for 2021/22 include:
- The expansion of the electric-powered Metro tram system
- The opening of new railway lines and stations at Darlaston, Willenhall, Moseley, Kings Heath and Hazelwell
- The development of a ‘Sprint’ rapid bus network using zero emission vehicles
- Support for the continuing conversion of buses from diesel to hybrid
- More cycling and walking routes
- Concessionary travel for older people, the blind, disabled and children.
In addition, there will be £11m available for subsidised bus services, £7m for Ring and Ride and nearly £4m to enhance transport for the Commonwealth Games.
More than £116m is committed for housing and land projects and in particular the remediation of derelict brownfield sites, saving acres of greenbelt from development.
An adult education budget of £142m will be used to give people, especially those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, the skills needed to get back into work quickly and to secure jobs in growing sectors such as construction, digital and the emerging green industries.
The aim of the projects outlined is to help the region make a quick and effective recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, as well as tackling the climate emergency facing the West Midlands by investing in a green public transport network.
The funding will help to create and protect jobs at a critical time for many people’s livelihoods, whilst also helping the region to become carbon neutral by 2041. To find out more visit https://www.wmca.org.uk/.