Wolverhampton Midland Metro extension set to begin in two years

A £30 million Midland Metro extension in Wolverhampton is planned to get under way between 2015 and 2019.

And a £90 million second line from Wednesbury to Dudley is also on a wish list drawn up by transport bosses, who want to split up the long-awaited link between Wednesbury and Brierley Hill.

But hopes of re-opening a rail link between Wolverhampton and Walsall are effectively shelved until at least 2019, it has emerged.

The Wolverhampton Metro loop is second on a list of the priorities drawn up by transport authority Centro but is entirely dependent on getting funding in “challenging” circumstances.

The Black Country has £27.6m for transport schemes coming from the Government between 2015 and 2018 while Birmingham will get £35.8m.

To secure the rest of the money council leaders and MPs are being urged to lobby the government while Centro is hoping to use new powers from schemes such as George Osborne’s Enterprise Zones to borrow money against the business rates that new companies will be paying.

Councils will be allowed to keep rates from new businesses as opposed to sending them to central government.

The top priority for the four-year period is to get the Midland Metro out from New Street station in Birmingham to Five Ways in the city centre, according to Centro’s report.

But a new Metro link from Wednesbury town centre to Dudley town centre is also considered to have “significant economic and regeneration value” – although it comes behind the Wolverhampton loop on the list of priorities. The wider scheme to take the Metro to the Merry Hill Shopping Centre would cost up to £300m.

The transport authority also wants to raise up to £30m to re-instate the fourth platform at Snow Hill station and provide more services to Rowley Regis and other Black Country stations.

A network of bendy buses running from Wolverhampton city centre to the i54 business park along the A449 Stafford Road would cost £20m.

The buses would be treated the same way as the Metro.

But other projects are not being considered for work until at least 2019.

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Source : expressandstar

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