Dudley Council bosses have welcomed news of multi-million Government funding for the Metro expansion from Wednesbury into Brierley Hill.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced in parliament that Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) is to get £60 million towards the completion of the second phase of the scheme. The first phase, from Wednesbury into Dudley town centre, is already well under way and is expected to be carrying passengers by next year.
The announcement – as part of the region’s Deeper Devolution Deal – will go towards the second phase, which will carry trams from Dudley town centre into Brierley Hill. The Chancellor also announced that the corridors along the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill line would be one of six “levelling up zones” in the region to benefit from a £500 million investment to boost jobs and regeneration.
As part of that, West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) is to allocate £225,000 in funding to allow the council to demolish two derelict eyesore buildings in Brierley Hill High Street. A pedestrian walkway linking the High Street to the new Metro terminus will be created in its place.
Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of the council, said: “The announcement by the Chancellor is fantastic news for the borough, and hugely welcomed by this authority.
“We have always been absolutely committed to completing the Metro extension in full, and this £60 million will give us a real springboard to secure the rest of the cash we need to make the second phase a reality. It will also see cash come in to create jobs and breathe new life into the areas around the Metro routes.
“I’ve always been a big advocate in giving local politicians, who know their areas best, the power to make their own decisions regarding funding. The Deeper Devolution Deal announced today is a huge step in the right direction in that regard.”
Following the announcement TfWM, which is part of WMCA, will now look in detail at the options available to get the second phase of the Metro expansion over the line.” The WMCA board will consider further funding options at a meeting in June.