TRANSPORT Secretary Philip Hammond has said high-speed rail will bring economic growth to the region.
Speaking to the Solihull News, the cabinet member denied the scheme would only benefit Londoners.
“I think that’s terribly defeatist, prosperity will be created at both ends of the line,” he said.
“Where high-speed rail has been introduced in other countries, there have been benefits along the line and there’s no reason to believe it won’t be the same here.”
Mr Hammond said the project would have the same impact on Britain as when rail travel was first introduced.
On Tuesday, the MP met with representatives from parish councils and residents’ associations at Coleshill Town Hall.
Outside the building, a group of protesters, waving placards and banners, gathered to show their opposition to the scheme.
Many felt it was wrong to continue with the project when so many cuts are being planned for elsewhere.
Archie Taylor, from Warwickshire, feared the scheme would end up a “white elephant”.
“Why can’t the money be spent on improving the existing network, doing things like providing more carriages,” he said.
Mr Hammond said such schemes were already under-way, but the rail network was about to reach capacity.
He also defended the decision to press-ahead with the scheme, when the country had only just come out of recession.
“I think it would be a mistake to stop all investment, we must continue with capital projects.
“One of Britain’s failings during periods like the 1980s was to stop all investment.”