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Crossrail 2 is a ‘priority’

Words: Laura Edgar

Funding should be made available now to develop Crossrail 2 - a priority project for which London should pay half, says the National Infrastructure Commission

The commission also maintains that a hybrid bill should be submitted by autumn 2019, with the line to be opened in 2033.

The National Infrastructure Commission was instigated by chancellor George Osborne in October 2015, and the following month it launched a call for evidence, including an investigation into London’s transport infrastructure.

Now it has published Transport For A World City (pdf), which includes analysis and recommendations on what needs to happen in the capital, with particular focus on the case for Crossrail 2.

Figures in Transport For A World City

•    By 2030, London will be a megacity of 10 million people

•    London is currently growing by two Tube trains a week

•    By the 2030s, Waterloo, Clapham Junction and Victoria are predicted to have 40 per cent more passengers in the morning peak time

•    Crossrail 2 will provide capacity for 270,000 passengers to reach central London every morning

Subject to those recommendations, the National Infrastructure Commission suggests that Crossrail 2 should be “taken forward as a priority”, with sufficient funding made available by Transport for London (TfL) and the Department for Transport (DfT) to prepare a hybrid bill for the infrastructure. This should begin with a revised business case to be submitted by March 2017.

Transport For A World City recommends that when developing the business case, it is crucial that TfL and DfT should identify clear proposals to maximise its benefits and increase deliverability. This would include:

  • Delivering a funding plan in which London contributes its fair share to the project – “more than half the total for the scheme”; and

  • Developing a strategy to ensure the construction of at least 200,000 homes along the route.

Chair of the commission Lord Andrew Adonis said that as London’s population is expected to increase to more than 10 million by the 2030s, even with the arrival of Crossrail 1, “the capital will grind to a halt unless significant further improvements are made”.

“The commission has identified four crucial ways in which the scheme can be developed to ensure that we maximise benefits and increase deliverability: phasing parts of the scheme, fair funding with London paying more than half the cost, private financing to help build stations and, crucially, a clear, transformative strategy to turn the proposed 200,000 new homes into a reality.

“There is no good reason to delay”, he said.

Other recommendations outlined in the report include:

  • Crossrail 2 should be at the heart of the new London Plan, alongside commitments to upgrade existing and install new infrastructure;

  • TfL and DfT, in conjunction with other government departments and relevant bodies, should use the next stage of development to set out a clear, transformative plan to turn the proposed 200,000 homes into a reality; and

  • The opportunity should be taken to maximise private sector involvement in the development and funding stations and their surrounding areas.

Crossrail 2 managing director Michèle Dix said: "We welcome the commission's ringing endorsement that the case for Crossrail 2 is well founded and should be taken forward as a priority. The report is clear that Crossrail 2 is an essential response to the challenges the region faces - and that funding must be made available now to fully develop the scheme.

“The commission recognise that Crossrail 2 is uniquely able to address our most important strategic challenges and now we hope that the Chancellor commits the development funding and legislative time the commission recommend. We are ready to take this vitally important scheme forward to ensure 200,000 more jobs and 200,000 more homes are realised."

Transport For A World City can be found here (pdf).

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