UKIB sprint into West Midlands
A £10M investment into creating a net zero-emissions in West Midlands has been confirmed.
The UK Infrastructure Bank has confirmed it will partner with the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) in phase 1 of the new Sprint Bus Route in Birmingham.
The project will increase connectivity between residential and employment areas, speeding up journey times and reducing carbon emissions, thus supporting the WMCA ambition to create a zero-emissions corridor by 2030.
The funding is being provided through a loan to the WMCA as part of the UK Infrastructure Bank’s local lending function, in line with its objectives to boost regional growth and support the UK’s ambitions on net-zero.
The WMCA Sprint project, once completed, is projected to unlock nearly 4,000 jobs due to the increased frequency and speed of connections between the economic hubs of Birmingham City Centre, Solihull and Birmingham Airport.
The project will also help reduce CO2 emissions by decreasing route congestion and bringing online new hydrogen buses. Greener transport is a key part of the government’s Net Zero Strategy, and bus network expansion across the UK is a priority set out in its Levelling Up White Paper.
CEO of the UK Infrastructure Bank, John Flint said: “This project not only delivers in working towards achieving our net zero target but is important to the economic growth in the region. Zero Emission Buses are crucial to decarbonise the transport sector and provide efficient, reliable services for all.
“This is our first deal with the West Midlands Combined Authority, and we are looking forward to working with the team again in the future. I encourage other local and regional bodies to get in touch with us on similar projects where financing is required.”
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, said: “Our Sprint project represents a major investment in our public transport network to enable us to improve both reliability and journey times for passengers, bypassing traffic jams on some of Birmingham’s key routes.
“The support of the UK Infrastructure Bank for this initiative is a real vote of confidence in the West Midlands and we look forward to working with them on future projects.”
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