The taxpayer funded authority in charge of West Midlands public transport spends almost £20,000 a year on lobbying politicians and promoting itself to government.
Centro’s spending was uncovered by Tory MP Gavin Williamson.
Using the Freedom of Information Act, the South Staffordshire MP asked the authority – funded with a levy on council tax – how much went on sponsoring and paying for events at party conferences and in Parliament where senior officers and councillors travel to London for the day.
Centro, which has spent an average of £19,946 a year since 2008, says it is looking at “maintaining a static levy of £147.5m for 2012/13 and the following two years”.
It follows a £4.5m cut in this year’s levy and as councils look at their own funding for next year after two years of council tax freezes.
Mr Williamson said: “It’s quite disgraceful to use taxpayers’ money to wine and dine politicians.
“Centro say it isn’t much but £20,000 is a lot of money to my constituents.”
Centro legal executive Tracey Sandel said they won more than £2 billion of committed or delivered transport schemes.
These included rebuilding of New Street station, extension of the runway at Birmingham Airport, transport interchanges at Birmingham, Stourbridge and Wolverhampton and the Midland Metro Birmingham city centre extension.
“Attending party conferences and our annual reception at Parliament are perhaps our most important ways of raising awareness and gathering support for investment in West Midlands transport and national projects,” he said.
“At a time when funding for transport is so tight, we would argue that attending party conferences is now more important than ever.”