Ruth Kelly today announces the biggest local authority PFI package in the country, to upgrade roads in and around Birmingham.
The £588M Private Finance Initiative deal will give Birmingham City Council the power to secure a private sector partner to carry out improvements to local roads over the next 25 years.
Ruth Kelly said, "Better roads mean safer roads and faster journeys, so this partnership arrangement will benefit all road users in Birmingham - motorists, bus users and cyclists alike.
"The deal will also attract significant private sector investment to the area, boosting the local economy. I hope residents and visitors to Birmingham will soon start to feel the benefits of the scheme."
The next stage in the process is for Birmingham City Council to secure a partner for the work. When that is finalised, work could begin in 2009.