A report by the region’s development agency has highlighted the progress that has been made in transport over the past 12 months.
The first annual review of the West Midlands Regional Transport Priorities Action Plan by Advantage West Midlands identified a number of successes including the beginning of work on the New Street Gateway project and the granting of planning permission for a 300m runway extension at Birmingham International Airport.
Regional Minister Ian Austin MP said getting transport right was key to the overall economic well-being of the region.
He said: “We need a reliable and efficient transport network to help boost economic growth and attract new investment and jobs to the West Midlands, as well as helping tackle climate change and helping to make our roads, railways and other transport networks safer and more secure.”
The report highlighted progress made in taking forward delivery of the nine transport priorities identified when the plan was formulated at the beginning of 2009 which also included the increasing of capacity on sections of the M42 and M40, which were completed ahead of schedule, and the beginning of works to improve rail links to ports for freight movements.
Mark Pearce, corporate director in economic regeneration at AWM, said: “This is an exciting time for transport in the region – we are starting to see the aims of the Action Plan translated into practical results, which will have a hugely beneficial effect.
“I’m glad to say that the Action Plan has gained a great deal of support and endorsement from our partners across the region, who all recognise transport as a priority.
“This report increases the transparency of what is happening with important transport projects for businesses and people across the region, showing which projects are on target and also highlighting challenges which we must tackle together to achieve maximum value.”
Olwen Dutton, chief executive of the West Midlands Leaders Board, said: “Improving transport infrastructure and mobility is crucial for the wellbeing of the people, communities and businesses in the West Midlands. This Action Plan is an essential catalyst for regeneration and transformation across the West Midlands.
“The Progress Report is very good news, demonstrating that by working together we can deliver. We have to build on this success and be even smarter, as there is still much to be done and securing the funding will be even tougher. We’ll continue to work together, both public and private sector partners to take advantage of opportunities to make sure that investment continues to support our ambitions.”