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Express & Star comment: Boris Johnson rather than major projects remain the big story

By Star Comment | Opinions | Published:

The Government’s planned infrastructure revolution is set to change the face of road networks around the country.

It is still hoped the Government will back plans to revamp congestion-hotspot Birchley Island with hard cash

But as far as the West Midlands is concerned, we may have to be rather patient when it comes to seeing any of the benefits close to home.

None of the major projects confirmed in the first phase of the £5 billion package of developments are West Midlands based, meaning, for the time being at least, the revolution will have to wait.

We can only assume the Government is holding back on the West Midlands projects until the second phase of the strategy.

One thing is for sure, there are certainly no shortage of road improvements we could do with around these parts.

Transport bosses are still waiting to hear whether they have been successful in bidding for £50 million in funding for major work on the A4123 Birchley Island in Sandwell and A454 Black Country Route in Wolverhampton.

The proposed upgrade to the A5 in Shropshire also appears to have been sidelined.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street will no doubt be hoping his own party is more receptive to his desire for a gigafactory in the region than Labour was last week.

With the Conservative conference in full flow, it is fully understandable the party is desperate to push out some headline grabbing policies that may curry favour with voters ahead of the next election.

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It is certainly true Boris Johnson will be hoping for a boost from big ticket announcements such as the plan to increase the national living wage.

However, there is no escaping the fact Mr Johnson himself is always likely to be the big story – whether he likes it or not.

The Prime Minister has spent the majority of his time in Manchester denying allegations of a thigh grab and fielding questions over his links with business deals when he was London Mayor.

Some of the allegations he has faced may well turn out to be politically motivated. But he will be well aware of the fact that for any Prime Minister, the highest possible level of scrutiny is to be expected.

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