Ministers used the run-up to the Autumn statement as an opportunity to announce funding for a range of new infrastructure projects in the West Midlands, as well to highlight projects already announced.
George Osborne may be struggling to get the deficit under control but the message from Westminster was that the Government is ready to lavish cash on the region.
New projects include a £24 million flood defence scheme in Perry Bar and Witton, Birmingham, which will protect 1,400 properties including 950 residential properties.
It’s part of what the Government calls an “unprecedented” six-year £2.3 billion flood defence programme.
New road schemes included a motorway junction costing more than £250 million at junction six of the M42, which connects the motorway network with the A45, a main road running from Birmingham, Solihull and Coventry.
Ministers said the project scheme benefit Birmingham Airport and make it easier to use the planned high speed rail station known as Birmingham Interchange, which will be close to the airport.
And a range of improvements to the M6, on top of work already announced or completed, mean there will be what the Department for Transport calls a “smart spine” of motorways linking London, Birmingham and the North West.
These are motorways where traffic flow is controlled using electronic road signs which can alter speed limits or direct motorists into different lanes, allowing the hard shoulder to be opened up when appropriate.
It’s a way of increasing capacity without building new lanes or whole new roads.
* Other announcements included work to junction 10 of the M6 near Walsall, including two new bridges, at a cost of more than £25 million.
* A stretch of motorway south of Solihull connecting the M40 and M42 will become smart motorway, at a cost of more than £25 million.
This work is all due to begin by 2020. Meanwhile, the Department for Transport will work on plans for improving the M42 and M5 in the “box” of motorway surrounding Birmingham, upgrading them to smart motorways at an estimated cost of £250 million.
A Department for Transport spokesman said: “There are plans over the next ten years to widen to four lanes the whole inner box around Birmingham and all the connections.
“So the notorious route between Birmingham and Manchester, that will receive a full makeover – turned into a smart motorway.
“We have around 145 miles of smart motorways radiating out from Birmingham.”
An infrastructure plan published by the Government to coincide with the Autumn Statement also highlighted a £350 million package of spending in Birmingham, Solihull and the surrounding area, which had been announced in July.
It includes major expansion of Birmingham’s light rail network, the Midland Metro, which will be extended with trams running to Edgbaston and to the planned new Curzon Street high speed rail station in the city centre.