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Last Updated: Saturday, 22 April 2006, 15:41 GMT 16:41 UK
322m needed for Metro extension
New-style Midland Metro tram
How the new-style Midland Metro trams could look
The government is to be asked for three-quarters of the cost of a 430m extension to the tram network through the West Midlands.

Centro has drawn up final plans for an expansion of the Midland Metro around Birmingham and the Black Country.

Passenger Transport Authority (PTA) councillors are expected to approve the details at a special meeting on Monday.

The plans include new lines from 2012 through Birmingham city centre and from Wednesbury to Brierley Hill via Dudley.

Around three-quarters of the cost - some 322m - would come from Government, with the rest of the bill being paid by local councils and private sector funding.

Centro chairman Gary Clarke said: "We are really pleased to be in a position where we can finally get our business case into Government.

"The expanded Midland Metro network will provide an excellent level of service for passengers.

Midland Metro
One of the existing trams on the Birmingham to Wolverhampton line

"Frequent high-capacity trams will provide a real boost to the accessibility of Birmingham city centre and the Black Country - with excellent links between shops, homes, offices, rail stations and major new developments.

"It will make a real impact on our campaign to cut congestion for everyone.

Extensions to the Midland Metro already have planning approval after two public inquiries.

When the business case has been submitted it is hoped the Government will grant "conditional approval".

That means the Passenger Transport Authority can go out to tender for three contracts for building the line, supplying the trams and operating the network.

Latest figures estimate the cost of building the new lines to be 384m after an allowance is made for inflation up to the year 2012 when the trams are hoped to be running.

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