West Midlands Mayor Andy Street has urged Boris Johnson to accelerate transport funding to re-boot the region’s economy after the coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier this year Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a £4.2bn devolved transport fund for the UK’s combined authorities, meaning, if split equally, the West Midlands would be guaranteed at least £500m.
The cash was due to be released in the 2022/23 financial year, but Street asked the Prime Minister to bring the funding forward to stem the economic damage caused by the coronavirus.
Street wants to inject cash quickly into major infrastructure projects to provide a shot in the arm for the region’s economy. Transport investment is seen as a critical part of the recovery and several ‘shovel-ready’ schemes in the region are just awaiting funding.
Street also pressed the Prime Minister on the need to invest in digital infrastructure, and electric vehicle charging points and technology, which are all primed and ready for investment in the West Midlands.
“We are in the process of drawing up our recovery plan, but it is clear that investment in infrastructure is going to play a critical role. The Government has already committed funding to transport but we want to bring that forward and we also want to see investment in several other key sectors in the region, not least digital infrastructure and the automotive industry’s push towards electric and autonomous vehicle technology.”