Wales

Transport and broadband key to Cardiff Capital Region plans

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Media captionA model of Cardiff now but chairman Roger Lewis explains what needs to happen for the whole region

A metro transport network and faster broadband are top of the shopping list for the new Cardiff Capital Region.

It has laid out its vision for the next 15 years in driving south Wales forward.

Public transport is the priority according to the "Powering the Welsh Economy" report.

It needs to be "high-performing, seamless and efficient" with too much reliance at the moment on cars.

BETTER TRANSPORT

The region needs to build on the planned electrification of Great Western and Valleys rail lines.

The network - which could be built by 2030 - would involve trains, buses and city trams and could cost over £2bn if it goes ahead.

Image copyright BBC/Cardiff Capital Region
Image caption This is how the Metro network could look with improved rail, new stations and a tram system

Board chairman Roger Lewis says the project could attract hundreds of millions of pounds worth of European Union structural funds, which can be used to develop the Metro relatively quickly.

DIGITAL, FASTER

Another key area is faster, reliable and cheap broadband.

"This is now a 'must have' for any city region with global aspirations and is critical for economic growth," says the report.

It points to the infrastructure in place and being developed and says the region now needs to capitalise on its "significant fibre backbone".

As for mobile coverage it points to black spots and says continued investment is needed to eliminate these and ensure 3G and new 4G coverage is available from all the major operators across the region.

WHAT DIFFERENCE WILL IT MAKE?

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Media captionEconomy Minister Edwina Hart says all of Wales will benefit from a strong capital region

In its 41-page report the region's advisory board sets out what it thinks needs to happen next.

Mr Lewis says the City region needs strong leadership, a clear and agreed vision, power, the backing of key stakeholders and importantly cross-party support.

With Cardiff also part of the Great Western Cities and Cores Cities groups, he said it was now about bringing those strands together.

Economy Minister Edwina Hart, who set up the Cardiff Capital Region and Swansea Bay City Region boards, argues all of Wales will benefit if they succeed in attracting jobs and investment.

She denies that the plethora of city organisations are "talking shops" .

When the Welsh government set up advisory boards for the two City Regions they were relatively new concepts.

It's incredible how quickly the landscape has changed in the UK.

The City regions in the north of England, and the wider partnership under the heading One North have already benefited from many millions of extra cash from the Treasury, for the projects they have identified as being key to economic growth.

Wales needs to act fast to not be left behind.

Mrs Hart will now consider Cardiff's Capital Regions strategy and will decide what will happen next - including whether it gets the powers and budget to match its ambitions.

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