Coventry City Council is set to discuss the provision of a £3.2m grant to support the Coventry Very Light Rail (VLR) project, in a measure to lock in investment to date while the project seeks funding from City Region Sustainable Transport Fund (CRSTS).
Coventry VLR is a unique transport project which aims to bring urban light rail to Coventry, at a more affordable cost than traditional projects like the system in Birmingham and other larger cities. It will be battery powered, meaning no overhead lines will be required, and will use a shallower track to minimise utilities diversion, reducing disruption and costs.
In a report to be presented to Cabinet on 12 October, councillors will be told that this measure will ensure the project can move to its next stage, locking in investment that the project has received to date from organisations such as the West Midlands Combined Authority and Coventry and Warwickshire LEP.
Councillor Jim O’Boyle, cabinet member for jobs, regeneration and climate change, said: “While as a Council we await the outcome of our bids to CRSTS and the Levelling Up Fund, it’s important that we provide targeted support to ensure that we can continue the incredible progress we’ve made on this project which is being led by the Council with a number of important local partners.
“Coventry Very Light Rail is an entirely new, clean and green mode of transport, which will build a Coventry, West Midlands and British-led supply chain which will upskill our local workforce. It will create jobs for local people and it will transform the way we move about the city – providing a hop on and hop off service.
“Coventry is leading the green industrial revolution – we have an ambition for a gigafactory, we will be the first all electric bus city and we have more on street charge points than any other city outside London. It’s a really exciting time and I’m looking forward to the testing process which will see VLR running on a test track in Dudley early next year.”
Government rules for funds such as CRSTS require a local contribution of between 15% and 20%, and if approved these funds would offset some of the need for local contribution.