§ Mr. Jim Cunningham
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of how much more local funding is necessary before the Government release the funding they have promised for the midland metro line; how many jobs will be created by the new line; what other such rail lines are planned for the west midlands; and what percentage of funding for the midland metro line will come from the local area, and how much will come from the Government.
§ Mr. Norris
Where the benefits of a light rail scheme are primarily local in character, it is reasonable that the local community should make a significant contribution to the cost. There is no fixed percentage of the cost of such a scheme that the Government are prepared to contribute; in this case, the Government have offered to contribute between £95 million and £105 million, and invited the local community to consider ways in which it could provide the balance of funding required. We are discussing with the local authorities concerned proposals they have put to us on how this might be done.
Centro—West Midlands PTE—estimates that the scheme will lead to the creation of around 1,300 jobs, including those involved in its construction. It has submitted grant applications for two further lines, one from Snow Hill station to the national exhibition centre and Birmingham international airport, and one from Wolverhampton, through Walsall, to Dudley and Brierley Hill.