Transport Minister Robert Goodwill attended the launch of the newly strengthened Midlands Connect Partnership today, Thursday 22 October 2015, to hear plans for a long-term transport strategy to help unlock economic growth in the region.
Research from Midlands Connect has found that improving transport links to speed up journey times across the Midlands could:
- boost the economy by more than £1 billion a year
- create 300,000 new jobs
- save businesses nearly £500 million
The government has provided Midlands Connect with £5 million to take the new regional strategy forward. It will be developed jointly by the Midlands Connect Partnership and the Department for Transport and will set out credible long-term transport investment priorities to support the building of the Midlands as an engine for growth.
Transport Minister Robert Goodwill said:
In addition to the massive investment the government is making in our transport infrastructure, we want to help regions across the country to make their voices heard on how their transport networks are run. We know that good transport doesn’t just help people get around, it helps them get on and these are key components of our long term economic plan to boost jobs and growth.
I congratulate the Midlands Connect Partnership on getting the Midlands Engine for growth in motion and starting work on this vital strategy. This is a fantastic opportunity and I look forward to us working together on it.
The strategy will develop and examine options for:
- measures that maximise economic growth from HS2
- reduced journey times and improved reliability between key centres
- addressing the interaction of national, regional and local movements within key strategic transport hubs in the Midlands
- a long term solution to the congestion and unreliability of movements within and through the region
- regional and national interventions that connect the Midlands to international gateways
HS2 Ltd Chairman Sir David Higgins said:
HS2 has the potential to be more than a new railway. It’s an unprecedented opportunity to create jobs, build homes, boost skills and employment and improve connectivity across the country.
Through Midlands Connect local, civic and business leaders are working strategically to get the whole region HS2 ready.
The programme has received additional support today from government investment to develop the vision and strategy for transforming transport connectivity across the region, in order to drive economic growth.
The Department for Transport has recently become an associate member of Midlands Connect, which was formed in 2014 and includes more than 40 public and private organisations.
The government is also planning to introduce legislation that will provide for sub-national transport bodies, which could pave the way for partnerships such as Midlands Connect to become a statutory body with legal powers and duties.