Midlands Connect receives £12m funding boost

The Department for Transport (DfT) has provided Midlands Connect with a further £12 million for its work in developing the transport links needed to power the Midlands Engine.

The funding from the DfT comes as Midlands Connect continues to prepare a regional transport strategy that will drive growth and exports and help secure a vibrant, post-Brexit UK economy.

Sir John Peace (pictured), chair of Midlands Connect and Midlands Engine, said: “This is a huge vote of confidence in the Midlands and in Midlands Connect.

“The funds will be used for the critical work of developing transport links that will drive growth not just here in the Midlands but across the UK. Better transport connections in the Midlands will help unlock and unleash our huge economic potential – which will help keep the UK economy strong while we adapt to life outside of the EU.”

The three-year, £12 million funding deal was announced yesterday (3 October) by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling in a keynote speech at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham.

The money will enable Midlands Connect to work on the implementation of its transport strategy after it is published in March 2017.

Andrew Cleaves, chair of the Midlands Connect Steering Group, added: “Congestion remains a real challenge for the Midlands and that also impacts on the wider UK economy.

“To overcome that challenge and seize on opportunities like HS2, we must develop the transport links needed to quickly connect people with places and manufacturers with markets.

“Now is therefore the right time to invest heavily in critical infrastructure that will drive economic growth for generations to come. This investment announced today is crucial to that work.”

Operating as the transport component powering the Midlands Engine, the Midlands Connect partnership involves 10 Local Enterprise Partnerships, Network Rail, Highways England, HS2 Ltd, 28 local authorities and the business community. The Department for Transport is an associate member.

Its forthcoming transport strategy will set out the infrastructure and other measures needed to speed up journeys in the Midlands.

In March this year the Government made a commitment to put Midlands Connect on to a statutory footing by 2018, establishing it as a Sub National Transport Body overseeing pan-Midland transport policy and strategy.

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