The West Midlands has been pushing hard for improvements to the region’s transport network for many years.
There have been some major successes. The Metro line, incomplete as it is, has added a new and welcome option for commuters in parts of Birmingham and the Black Country.
Refurbishment of New Street station is well on track, while the Active Traffic Management System pioneered on the M42 is being extended into other parts of the region.
This is an innovative scheme which makes the best possible use of motorway capacity by allowing drivers to take advantage of the hard shoulder when appropriate.
We can also, perhaps, look forward to the introduction of high speed rail services in the long term, with all three major political parties saying they are committed to high speed links between London and Birmingham, possibly stretching further north. This will not only help the West Midlands to tap into the economy in the wealthy south-east of England, but also put the Continent within reach by proving easy access to services running through the Channel Tunnel.
It is also worth noting that it will improve links to Heathrow and the West Country.
What this means for Birmingham International Airport remains to be seen. But the airport is also expanding, allowing it to provide long-haul flights to key destinations such as China and India.
As a region, we should not be reluctant to celebrate the improvements that have been made or are in the pipeline, many of which are a result of a united push for better services from business leaders, local politicians and organisations such as Advantage West Midlands, the regional development agency.
And the latest good news is the announcement that £90 million has been made available to improve railway services across the region, including new stations and platform lengthening at existing facilities.
That doesn’t mean the region’s transport network is in good shape. Far from it.
Business leaders might point out that the region still suffers from growing congestion on the roads which is affecting their bottom line.
And no real answer to this has been suggested. The type of investment in public transport needed to make a significant impact is not forthcoming, as the Government continues to insist cash can only go to regions introducing road-pricing schemes.
The campaign for better transport services must continue.
But in these difficult times, the region should not be shy in trumpeting the major improvements it has already achieved.