Here comes the West Midlands!

Hopefully a lot of people noticed this yesterday, if not then allow me to draw it to your attention: a news release put out by Centro announcing the agreement of the West Midlands Local Connectivity Package by the Integrated Transport Authority Shadow Board.  There are 2 things here:

– the £2billion Local Connectivity Package – a long term plan to deliver significant improvements to the West Midlands transport network and to maximise the local benefits that will stem from the arrival of HS2 in 2026;

– the ITA Shadow Board – the new form of governance with the West Mids Council Leaders taking charge of transport policy, speaking with one voice and driving forward the West Midlands.

Both are significant.  The West Midlands’ Leaders have now acknowledged and accepted the challenge posed of needing to get one strong voice for the largest conurbation outside of London, especially with changes afoot across the other major city regions (led by Greater Manchester having already created their Combined Authority).  The West Midlands needs to assert itself more strongly, it needs better coordination.  We now have an agreed plan and a structure to lead, agree and promote it.

We should also remember that this Local Connectivity Package is designed to plan for the long term and prepare for the coming of HS2. Two key figures: 51000 and 4.1 billion.  The number of jobs HS2 can create and the additional regional economic output it can generate.

That is why it is an extremely positive development…

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