Transport officials are to approach the Rover Task Force in an attempt to resurrect a long-delayed project to extend a busy commuter rail line from Longbridge to Frankley.

The 1.7-mile extension to the Cross City Line has been part of regional policy since 2002 but spiralling costs - from £16 million to a current estimate of £24 million - meant Centro officers were preparing to mothball the scheme until new national funds for rail infrastructure could be found.

However, at yesterday's meeting of the West Midlands Passenger Transport Authority, councillors decided to approach the Rover Task Force to ascertain whether potential redevelopment of the former MG Rover site might help fund the rail spur.

The Rover Task Force was set up by development agency Advantage West Midlands in the aftermath of the closure of MG Rover.

Passenger Transport Authority chairman Coun Gary Clarke (Con Walsall Streetly) said: "Many studies have shown there is a strong link between the quality of an area's transport network and its economic prosperity - and this is where we can help.

" Investment in public transport can help make this part of the West Midlands more attractive to new employers and increase the mobility of the workers now seeking new jobs."