A new group has been formed to champion strategic transport investment across the East and West Midlands.
Midlands Connect is a collaboration of Midlands-wide local enterprise partnerships, Network Rail, the Highways Agency, local authorities and the business community.
A major economic study, the first phase of Midlands Connect, is examining and assessing where connectivity improvements are likely to have the greatest long-term impact on employment and the economy.
Coun Roger Lawrence, chairman of the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority which formally approved the launch of Midlands Connect, said working as one body in identifying areas for investment to then maximise growth potential would be key.
"It is only with a clear and unified voice that the Midlands can really punch its weight and realise its true potential," he said.
"By talking to businesses and pulling together growth plans from the local enterprise partnerships we can create an integrated scheme that serves economic need and is supported by good transport.
"HS2 may be some years away but it is going to be a game-changer for this region. We have to get connectivity to it planned in advance so that we can maximise economic growth and our ability to move around."
The economic study launched by Midlands Connect is due to conclude in July and the group has already begun to seek funding from the Government and other sources.
Once up and running, it will then focus on developing an integrated plan for improved connectivity to HS2, addressing east-west Midlands connections and capacity for freight movements plus improving international connectivity via the region’s airports.
Andrew Cleaves, chairman of the West Midlands Cross-Local Enterprises Transport Group, said: "These are early days but already there is a consensus across the entire region that working together on improving our transport infrastructure is far more effective than as individual bodies.
"Economic progress is not governed by municipal boundaries - developments at somewhere like Birmingham Airport or on the M1 can have an impact all over the Midlands, so we need to capture that and use it to our advantage."
The plans were confirmed at a breakfast meeting at Birmingham Airport on Thursday, June 26, when business leaders from across the region came together to discuss the way ahead.
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