The long awaited extension of the Birmingham Metro to New Street is expected to be awarded £82 million of Government funding within days.
The Department of Transport has been mulling over the extension business plan since last October and is gearing up for an announcement next week.
It has been asked by regional transport authority Centro to stump up the cash towards a £127 million Metro improvement scheme.
The Metro extension will open up the Jewellery Quarter and parts of the Black Country to millions of rail passengers who travel through New Street each year.
And it is estimated that it could create up to 5,300 new jobs and boost the region’s economy bringing more parts of the city centre within easy reach of commuters and businesses.
The scheme will see the light railway extended from Snow Hill Station, along Bull Street and Corporation Street to deliver passengers to the rebuilt New Street Station.
Once approved construction would be linked to the New Street Gateway development and expected to be completed by about 2014.
Officially the bid is still sitting on a minister’s desk awaiting approval, but sources suggest the announcement is ready to go.
It is thought Labour ministers are keen to announce the investment before the general election.
A Government spokesman said: “The Department for Transport has been assessing the business case for the proposed Midland Metro extension. Ministers will shortly be in a position to consider the proposed scheme.”
With £82 million Government money, the remainder of the £127 million investment is being funded by Centro and other local agencies.
A Centro spokesman said: “We have submitted a very robust business case for the Metro extension and are hoping for a decision soon.”
This breaks down as £52 million for the city centre extension, a further £52 million for a fleet of 19 longer trains and platform extensions at existing stations and the remainder for infrastructure improvements.