Professor Ross Cranston (Dudley North, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the likely (a) start and (b) completion date for construction of the extension of the Midland Metro light rapid transit system from Wednesbury to Brierley Hill; and if he will make a statement.
Ms Charlotte Atkins (Assistant Whip (funded by HM Treasury), Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport; Staffordshire Moorlands, Labour)
No assessment has been made. I understand from the West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive, Centro, who are the promoters of the scheme, that they expect the construction to start mid 2007 and to be completed in 2010. This is, however, subject to powers for the extension being confirmed by Parliament and to our consideration of a final business case, which is expected to be submitted in the spring. Although the Department announced on