WEST Midlands transport bosses have called on the Government to back £60 million worth of rail upgrades which they claim would create 4,400 jobs.
Transport authority Centro is pushing three rail projects: increasing capacity on the Snow Hill line, reopening the Aldridge and Sutton Park line and electrification of the Walsall to Rugeley route.
They have told transport secretary Justine Greening that, once complete, the projects could generate more than £370 million for the regional economy.
Centro chief executive Geoff Inskip met the Cabinet minister and told her that the projects will improve connections across the region and feed in to the HS2 rail development.
He said: “These are relatively modest schemes costing just £60 million yet they can bring economic growth worth six times that amount.
“Investing in our local rail network in the run up to the arrival of HS2 will also maximise the impact of high speed rail by spreading the significant economic benefits throughout the region.
“These projects can help deliver the government’s national growth agenda.”
The Government is currently considering proposals for transport projects to be delivered between 2014 and 2019.
Centro already has the go- ahead for £20 million of improvements to the Water Orton line and £35 million of work on Coventry to Leamington line.
They are also pursuing two major longer-term projects, to be delivered in the five years after 2019, with the department for transport; the £100 million reopening of the Walsall to Stourbridge Freight Line and the £150 million Camp Hill Chords project which would enable two new suburban rail lines to be run into Moor Street – one from Kings Norton through Kings Heath and Moseley and one from Tamworth through Kingsbury, Castle Vale and Fort Parkway.
Mr Inskip added: “Both schemes are crucial in terms of supporting economic growth and exploiting the capacity that will be released on the local rail network by the arrival of HS2.”