A BUDGET to boost infrastructure, land regeneration and job training schemes across the region has been given the green light.
The 2022/2023 West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) £879.2m budget was approved by the authority’s board by members.
For the fifth year running the budget will not include a mayoral precept on people’s Council Tax bills.
It includes packages for major transport projects to tackle air pollution, which the Coventry All Electric Bus project is part of.
More than £140m has been set aside for an Adult Education Budget which will give people the skills they need to get back into work quickly and secure jobs in growing sectors such as construction, digital and the emerging green industries.
The approved capital budget includes £379m for the WMCA’s transport arm – Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) – to deliver schemes that will improve connectivity, drive economic growth and cut carbon emissions by making it easier and more attractive for people to switch to public transport.
This includes construction of Sprint rapid bus routes along the A34 and A45, £11m investment in new cycle routes and projects and £59m for concessionary travel for older people, the blind, disabled and children.
Money committed for housing and land projects will be targeted on supporting the WMCA’s brownfield regeneration programme to unlock and redevelop even more derelict urban land and help safeguard the green belt.
Nearly £66m in capital grants will be allocated to local authorities to help fund major infrastructure projects with significant investment in Coventry city centre including completion of the rail station, the UK Central development around the airport and NEC in Solihull and for the staging of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Councillor Bob Sleigh, deputy West Midlands Mayor and Solihull cabinet member for Resources, said: “There is significant funding in this budget to help us recapture our pre-Covid success and build an economy that supports our environmental targets while focussing on innovation and new green technologies.
“But with the region’s population expected to rise by more than 500,000 people over the next 20 years we also need to put in place the building blocks we will need to meet continuing demand for new, quality homes, services and jobs.
“We believe this budget will help the region meet those future challenges.”