Government boost for region’s roads

West Midlands wins £39 million extra cash for road repairs.

The West Midlands has been awarded £39 million from the government to spend on urgent road repairs.

The cash has been won by the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority following a bid to the Department for Transport.

The money means a total of nearly £90 million – which includes £4.9 million from West Midlands local authorities – will be spent on improving 211 miles of major roads across the region over the next six years. This is on top of the annual £16 million the region receives each year from the government for road maintenance, therefore more than doubling the amount to be spent on maintaining major local roads between now and 2018.

The money announced today comes from a £600 million pot for local road maintenance known as the Highway Maintenance Challenge Fund, first revealed by the Government in December. The £39m comes from a £275m bidding process within that pot for local authorities, where the winners put forward the strongest case.

WMITA was the only integrated transport authority among 28 councils and bodies to share in this money. It will be paid to WMITA, who will then distribute it over the next three years to the seven local councils that make up the authority.

Cllr Roger Lawrence, Leader of Wolverhampton City Council and chair of the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority, said: “This is excellent news for West Midlands people and businesses.

“The fact that we’ve secured such a significant proportion of this national funding demonstrates the strength of our business case and joint working. It will bring much-needed infrastructure investment to our region’s road network and will support our drive to deliver jobs, growth and prosperity.”

Cllr Bob Sleigh, the leader of Solihull Council and deputy chairman of the West Midlands ITA, said asset management was a key element of the ITA’s emerging Strategic Transport Plan, which aims to ensure the West Midlands is central to growth in the UK.

“Our A-roads are the arteries of our economy, moving people and goods whilst the delays and repairs associated to poor road maintenance on our major roads are costs to our businesses and residents, a cost we can now reduce,” he said.

“Crucially, this means that all road users will benefit from smoother and more reliable journeys from the investment including drivers, cyclists and bus passengers. We are the only ITA in the country to receive such an award, which I think speaks volumes for the strength of the bid we submitted and shows what can be achieved when the region speaks with one voice.”