Treasury Minister Lord Deighton has defended the location of proposed HS2 stations against critics who question why many of them are out of urban centres.
He insisted the controversial new Toton station, between Nottingham and Derby, would benefit the region as a whole.
He spoke to ITV News Central as he met with business leaders and with engineering students from Loughborough University, urging them to get behind the project.
Businesses in the East Midlands will be told about the potential benefits of the new high-speed rail link between London and the north at an event today.
Transport minister Lord Deighton will be visiting engineering students in Loughborough, while staff working on HS2 will be at an open meeting in Long Eaton.
A total of £320million has been secured by transport bosses in the West Midlands as part of a programme of works to milk the benefits of HS2.
The range of improvements will kick off an estimated £2billion of works across the region, and are set to take place between 2015 and 2019.
- Extending the Midland Metro tram from St George's in Wolverhampton to the city's rail station, and from Birmingham New Street to Centenary Square
- Electrifying the rail lines between Walsall and Rugeley, and between Coventry and Leamington Spa
- Building a new railway station at Kenilworth
- Expanding park and ride sites and local rail stations
- Introducing a tram-style rapid bus system called SPRINT along the Hagley Road in Birmingham
- Improving the area between New Street and Moor Street railway stations in Birmingham to create a "One Station" zone
Tens of thousands of new jobs will be created in the West Midlands by making key improvements to the region's travel network in the wake of the HS2 project, council bosses have claimed.
Councillor Roger Lawrence, leader of Wolverhampton City Council and spokesman for the Integrated Transport Authority shadow board, said the project would help exploit the economic benefits of the high-speed rail line.
HS2 offers a once in a lifetime opportunity for our region and we intend to grab it with both hands.
With the right local transport connections we can secure more than 51,000 new jobs and boost the West Midlands economy by more than £4.1bn a year, benefitting people right across our region.
– Councillor Roger Lawrence, Integrated Transport Authority shadow board
We have already secured more than £320 million towards this package so we can press on and build several of the schemes over the next five years or so.
That’s a great start and we will now continue to work closely with the region’s Local Enterprise Partnerships and Network Rail amongst others to deliver the rest of the package.
A total of £2billion will be ploughed into transport links across the West Midlands to boost the region's economy in the wake of HS2, it was announced today.
The Local Connectivity Package, which was formally agreed today, aims to maximise the benefits of the high-speed rail link by improving how people from across the region will be able to get to it.
It includes extensions to the Midland Metro tram system in Birmingham and the Black Country, new and upgraded railway stations, and opening up old freight lines to passenger trains.
Wolverhampton City Council leader Councillor Roger Lawrence, who sits on the Integrated Transport Authority shadow board, said more than £320million of funding had already been earmarked for the improvements.
Work is set to take place between 2015 and 2019.
It comes as a series of consultation events over phase two of the scheme are set to take place across the Midlands.
Today's public consultation event in Staffordshire, will kick off three months of meetings to give people more information on what phase two of HS2 will mean for the Midlands.
After the meeting in Yarnfield Park, Stone, between noon and 8pm today, events will be held in the following places:
- Tomorrow: noon - 8pm at Armitage with Handsacre Village Hall, Shropshire Brook Road, Rugeley
- Saturday: 10am - 5pm at Whitmore & District Village Hall, Coneygreave Lane, Whitmore, Newcastle-under-Lyme
- Nov 6: noon - 8pm at The Madeley Centre, New Road, Madeley, Staffordshire
- Nov 15: noon - 8pm at Westpark Leisure Centre, Wilsthorpe Road, Long Eaton
- Nov 16: 10am - 5pm at Westpark Leisure Centre, Wilsthorpe Road, Long Eaton
- Nov 30: 10am - 5pm at Bilborough College, College Way, Nottingham
- Dec 4: noon - 8pm at Tamworth Assembly Rooms, Corporation Street, Tamworth
- Dec 5: noon - 8pm at Hood Park Leisure Centre, North Street, Ashby de la Zouch
- Dec 10: noon - 8pm at Staffordshire Show Ground, Weston Road, Stafford
- Dec 13: noon - 8pm at Crewe Alexandra Football Club, Gresty Road, Cheshire
- Dec 14: 10am - 5pm at Crewe Alexandra Football Club, Gresty Road, Cheshire
Twelve consultation events will be held across the Midlands in the coming weeks to discuss the proposed phase two of the HS2 rail link.
Phase two will consist of two legs - an eastern route connecting Birmingham to Leeds via the East Midlands, and a western route to Manchester.
The public consultations in the region will begin to day with an event in Stone.
People will be able to head to Yarnfield Park in Yarnfield Lane between noon and 8pm this evening.