Transport chiefs in the Midlands have presented a £400 million plan to the Government aimed at improving infrastructure across the region ahead of next week’s Budget.
They are asking Chancellor Rishi Sunak to provide the cash on Wednesday to support a raft of proposed measures across the East and West Midlands.
These include an additional platform at Birmingham’s Snow Hill station and a smart ticketing system similar to Oyster used in London to pay for bus, metro and rail journeys via a single car or mobile phone.
The Budget submission was drawn up by Midlands Connect, the transport body representing the East and West Midlands.
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* £27 million to reinstate platform four at Snow Hill to allow more local and long distance services to terminate there
* £20 million for a regionwide smart ticketing system for bus, tram and rail journeys across the Midlands
* £321 million for road improvements across the region, including £28 million to cut congestion on the A45 Damson Parkway junction in Coventry
* £20 million to create more services at Birmingham International and Coventry stations, with new direct services to Derby, Sheffield, York and Newcastle and more services to Leamington Spa, Banbury, Oxford and Reading
* £5.3 million to draw up plans for future schemes to cut congestion on the A46, the A5 between Staffordshire and Warwickshire and the A50/500 corridor in Stoke-on-Trent
* £5 million to develop plans for a new direct rail connection between Coventry, Leicester and Nottingham and for four tracking at Leicester station to allow for more services
* £5 million for better signalling between Newark and Lincoln
* £4.5 million to improve services from Derby, Leicester and Nottingham to a planned HS2 station at Toton
In total, the region is asking for £407.8 million.
The document sent to the Chancellor says that the damage to the economy caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the impact of Brexit makes it more important than ever to invest in the Midlands.
“The region, country and world we live in is unrecognisable to that we inhabited just a year ago,” it says.
“The unparalleled challenges of a global pandemic, the UK’s exit from the European Union and the ongoing blight of climate change mean that decisive action, demonstrable progress and strategic innovation are more important than ever.
“This is especially true for our transport network.”
Separately, Midlands Connect has today published the results of its own research into sentiment across the region towards the vast array of rail and other transport projects being proposed
The transport body questioned 10,000 residents across the Midlands ahead of next week’s Budget.
It claims 85 per cent of respondents were supportive of Midlands Engine Rail, the name given to the collection of different rail improvement schemes aiming to boost connectivity across the region.
The main project on the table is the ‘Midlands Rail Hub’ whose work includes signalling upgrades, new tracks and passing places to create space for 20 additional trains to go in and out of Birmingham Moor Street station every hour.
It has a local approval rating of 86 per cent, according to Midlands Connect, while road projects on the A50/A500 and A46 corridors are supported by more than 80 per cent of those questioned nearby.
Nine in ten of respondents also backed plans for the proposed smart payment system.
Midlands Connect director Maria Machancoses said: “The results of this poll are hugely heartening.
“They show that local people value investment in public transport.
“As well as having public support, all of the schemes Midlands Connect has submitted to the Government for this Budget are backed by evidence – demonstrating the positive impact they will have on economic, social and environmental outcomes.
“We are confident the Government will continue to support our considered, affordable and deliverable vision for a more connected, prosperous and mobile Midlands region.”