Proposed Rapid Transit Network Review for Black Country

Transport chiefs are set to take a fresh look at proposals for a rapid transit network to best
connect the Black Country’s key towns and cities with each other and Birmingham.
The West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority, which meets next Wednesday (January
28), is to consider carrying out a review of what tram, light rail or other rapid transit options
are available and which routes should be taken.
It follows a request from the Association of Black Country Authorities (Dudley, Sandwell,
Walsall and Wolverhampton) which is keen to see a rapid transit network linking major
centres of employment, education and leisure to help underpin future economic growth and
job creation.
The Black Country Rapid Transit Review would be carried out by public transport coordinator
Centro in partnership with the four councils.
If given the go-ahead, the review is likely to determine which routes and types of vehicle can
offer the best options in terms of connectivity, economic benefit and value for money.
It would also take into consideration new developments such as the Black Country
Enterprise Zones at i54 and Darlaston and the need to link into the HS2 high speed rail line
and existing rapid transit routes including the forthcoming Metro extension from
Wolverhampton St George’s to the city’s bus and rail stations.
WMITA chair, Cllr Roger Lawrence, said: “The principle of a high quality rapid transit system
for the Black Country remains a priority.
“Such a network would provide the transport infrastructure needed to support ambitions for
future economic growth and the creation of much needed jobs.
“However, it’s been a number of years since this was first looked at and during that time we
have seen the emergence of key developments such as HS2, i54 and the planned super
hospital at Smethwick.
“It’s therefore important we ensure this network has the right routes and connections for the
future and delivers the maximum economic benefits possible for the cost.”
Cllr Lawrence said a review would determine what options could be built within the next five
to ten years and confirm the preferred lines of route so local councils had clarity about what
land would be needed.

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