IMPROVEMENT plans to public transport across the region – including Coventry Very Light Rail – have taken a step closer to reality.
More than 50 projects to improve road, rail, tram, bus, cycling and walking routes across the region have been agreed by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) Board.
The list of preferred schemes will now be submitted to the Department for Transport for final approval, after which the full list will be published.
Coventry’s Very Light Rail would aim to deliver all of the benefits of trams but at a cheaper cost – providing an alternative to the car and helping improve air quality and reduce congestion in the city centre.
Other projects include further investment into the Metro system, 100km of new segregated cycle routes, 50km of bus lanes and priority measures and a new railway station at Aldridge.
The schemes, to be developed over the next five years, will be funded from the £1.05 billion City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement, which was awarded to the region by the Department for Transport last year, topped up with local funding.
Efforts to encourage greater use of electric vehicles to help the region meet the climate change challenge will be supported with a network of 1,600 car charging hubs and ten ultra-rapid charge points for electric vans and light goods vehicles.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and Chair of the WMCA, said: “From an expanded Metro network and new railway stations, to more cycle routes and better electric vehicle charging infrastructure, the schemes we have agreed today will benefit every area, with improved links for communities right across the West Midlands, whilst also tackling the climate change emergency by cutting down our carbon emissions.
“I know the team cannot wait to get started on these projects, and so once we have Government approval we will press on with getting diggers in the ground and people into work.”