West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) leaders will next week be asked to agree a funding package to launch construction on the second phase of the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill Metro extension. Construction is currently under way on phase one of the line from the West Midlands Metro Depot at Wednesbury to Dudley town centre and is due to be completed next year.
This new funding agreement will allow work to continue on the line from Dudley town centre to Merry Hill Waterfront in Brierley Hill. This phase of the project will add a further three stops. The route will then continue onto Merry Hill Shopping Centre, subject to a funding contribution from Dudley Council.
The WMCA maintains an ambition to continue the extension deeper into Brierley Hill, dependent on further funding becoming available. This investment in Metro will help deliver on the WMCA’s key aims for a greener and better connected region by offering a rapid and convenient alternative to the private car and supporting the regeneration of communities and businesses along the route.
The new package includes a £60 million grant from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities agreed in March as part of the region’s ground breaking Deeper Devolution Deal. This is subject to approval of the business case and will be topped up with further support from the WMCA’s City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement (CRSTS) and Dudley Council.
Last year the WMCA was successful in securing £1.05 billion CRSTS funding from Government for investment in a range of rail, Metro, bus, cycling and walking infrastructure projects and is able to draw on this to cover part of the additional cost. Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and WMCA chair, said: “I have always been clear that whatever the economic backdrop we must get the Metro extension from Wednesbury to Brierley Hill built, and so I am delighted we’ve now found the funds we need to make that happen.
“It wasn’t an easy decision to phase construction last year, but against a backdrop of rising energy, borrowing, and supply costs we really had little choice. Now however we are ready to press on again subject to WMCA board approval and start construction on Phase Two with Phase One already well underway.
“The reason this line is so important and why our commitment has remained steadfast is that it will provide people in Dudley with a modern transport system that better connects them to opportunities across the West Midlands. The sooner we get it built, the sooner people can reap those benefits.”
The Metro extension is being designed and delivered for Transport for West Midlands, which is part of the WMCA, by the Midland Metro Alliance. The full costs of the scheme are subject to contract and full business case.