Multi-million pound transport plans for the Black Country including the long-awaited rebuild of Wolverhampton rail station have been backed by council bosses.
A transport board set up to decide how to use a government fund worth between £18.4 million and £36.8m has earmarked the cash for a mix of road and rail schemes.
But the Black Country Strategic Transport Board has turned down plans to re-open freight rail lines for trams between Walsall and Stourbridge and ‘rapid buses’ to shuttle people from Wolverhampton city centre to the i54 business park.
They have also ruled out using the government fund for work to improve traffic flow on the Willenhall Road and Neachells Lane junction in Portobello and putting cash towards a £14m bus station in Walsall.
But they are prepared to pump £10m into the redevelopment of Wolverhampton rail station, although the £96m project is still a long way from going ahead after being turned down for more funding by central government.
The redevelopment of Wolverhampton rail station was said to be ‘a relatively well developed scheme and the scheme has strategic merit – treating a key gateway and improving accessibility’.
Midland Metro trams are set to be taken to the front door with an extension from the current St George’s terminus.
Wolverhampton City Council’s deputy leader Councillor Peter Bilson said: “A new railway station for our city remains a top priority.
“The commitment from the board, which is a key partner is very encouraging and would be a boost to the scheme.”
The transport board is also willing to put £5.8m towards a new rail station for Aldridge and electrification of the rail line and £4.2m towards increasing capacity on Pensnett High Street.
Transport chiefs also want to put money in to a £39.8m scheme to rebuild 'structures' over the M6 motorway at Junction 10 at Walsall so that businesses will want to move to an Enterprise Zone in Darlaston.
Councillor John Rochelle, representative for Aldridge, said he was delighted cash would be pumped into a new station at Aldridge.
“It will be a blessing and it will be a well used facility taking some of the pressure off the roads as well,” he said.
And they want to support widening junctions between the A4123 Birchley Island in Oldbury and the slip roads of the M5 motorway as well as contribute towards bringing a fourth platform at Birmingham’s Snow Hill station back into use.