Transport leader Geoff Inskip says HS2’s inclusion in the Queen’s Speech is great news for the West Midlands economy bringing jobs and investment.
Mr Inskip, chief executive of regional transport authority Centro, said HS2 was now one of the Government’s top priorities in the coming year and this would mean the project can press ahead with legislation and secure benefits for the regions.
“This is exactly what we wanted to hear – a continuing commitment and tremendous news for the West Midlands,” Mr Inskip said.
“HS2 will bring fast, direct services connecting eight of our ten largest cities, but it will also release capacity for more services on our existing lines.
“We’re already working to get the best possible benefits from HS2 at a local and regional level and so this continuing, unwavering commitment is crucial.”
Mr Inskip said research revealed that HS2 would deliver 22,000 jobs and £1.5bn per year to the West Midlands when phase one of the high-speed line between London and Birmingham was completed.
Further work is being done to calculate the benefits for phase two of the project which runs from the West Midlands to Manchester and Leeds.
Authorities and organisations across the region are working together in a Local Connectivity Group to maximise the benefits of bringing high-speed rail to the West Midlands.
They are calling for direct international services to destinations including Paris and Brussels and examining new routes for Metro and heavy rail to feed into and connect with the region’s two high speed rail stations.
They also want to increase rail services on existing corridors, including Wolverhampton to Birmingham Airport and Birmingham to Coventry.
The Group also want the Birmingham city centre station HS2 in Moor Street to be designed to allow for swift transfer between local and high speed services.