The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP has urged Government to give the green light to taking Crossrail 2 forward and commit the necessary development funding for the vital new railway line in next month’s budget. He has also warned that any delay will result in £4bn in lost economic benefit every six months.
Speaking in Westminster, the Mayor said that if Crossrail 2 is to be running when it is needed in 2030, not only is funding required for detailed technical work, but the Government must also allow for Parliamentary time to seek the necessary powers.
Crossrail 2 will see a tunnel built from Wimbledon to New Southgate and Tottenham Hale, linking railways in Surrey and Hertfordshire. It will enable up to 270,000 additional people to enter central London every weekday morning peak and transform connections across London and right across the wider South East.
The Mayor’s comments come in the week Transport for London (TfL) makes its final bid to the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) for development funding. The total estimated boost of the project to the UK economy has been estimated by KPMG at up to £102bn, as well as supporting over 200,000 new homes and jobs.
The Mayor today stated the case with new urgency. To ensure construction of the railway can begin early in the next decade, with the route opening in the early 2030s, the Mayor called on the Government to bring forward legislation in 2018 to ensure that the bulk of the Parliamentary work is completed in the course of this Parliament and to provide the necessary development funding in next month’s budget to allow that timetable to be met. Securing this funding would mean that TfL and Network Rail can progress with a full scale technical development of the railway immediately.
With London’s population rising from 8.6 million today to an expected 10 million by 2030, and significant population growth also expected across the entire South East of the country, the new rail line is vital to relieving increasing pressure on London’s transport network. Crossrail 2 will transform connections and reduce journey times from the Solent to the Wash.
TfL has already set out how London could pay for half of the cost of Crossrail 2 through a number of mechanisms already being used successfully to pay for Crossrail 1. TfL’s latest position goes further, proposing a London ‘gain share’ deal that could make a significant additional contribution to the cost. Gain share deals effectively capture the increased tax generated through growth in jobs and homes a new railway creates, such as additional stamp duty. The Chancellor has already agreed similar deals with nine other cities.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP, said:
“If we want Crossrail 2 to be taking people to work in the early 2030s when it will be desperately needed, there is no time for delay and we need to continue at full-throttle with our development work this year. For that, we need serious funding in next month’s budget. We also need a commitment from Government to bring forward the legislation to give us planning powers as soon as possible. Only with that will we be able to start digging early next decade and have the new trains running to meet the needs of the region’s rapidly growing population.
Moreover, Crossrail 2 can pay for itself. We are proposing a new mechanism to fund this major project. We are offering a conditional funding deal based on the impact Crossrail 2 will have. We want this to be independently assessed because we believe the extra growth from Crossrail 2 will more than pay for the scheme itself. Other cities have struck gain-share deals like this with Government and London is up for the same.”