THE government has agreed a further tranche of support for Crossrail, after there had been warnings that the project would have to be mothballed because Transport for London has a continuing cash problem and cannot pay for further work itself.
The Greater London Authority may now borrow up to £825 million from the Department for Transport, which will be passed on to TfL as a grant. The GLA will repay the loan using revenue from the Business Rate Supplement and Mayoral Community Infrastructure Levy.
Crossrail Ltd announced in August that it expected the Elizabeth Line to open through central London in the first half of 2022, but that it would need extra cash.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: ‘Securing this financing package enables us to press full steam ahead with getting the central section open as soon as possible. The Government have insisted London must pay the shortfall – despite the overwhelming majority of the tax income that will result from Crossrail going to the Treasury. This is another example of London supporting the country way over and above the help we get from this government. I do not want this project to be stalled, so it is vital that we dig deep to get the railway up and running. I will continue to monitor progress closely and do everything I can to minimise costs – helping ensure London and beyond can enjoy its many benefits sooner rather than later.’
Transport commissioner Andy Byford added: ‘I have been very clear that it is my priority to get the railway open as soon as possible and all those working on the Crossrail project are focused on that too. Confirming this financing is an essential step in ensuring the team can fully concentrate on safely delivering the Elizabeth Line, which is so vital for boosting rail capacity and supporting the economy.’
Chief executive Mark Wild described the work as being in its ‘complex final stages’. He continued: ‘Many of the stations are now nearing completion and we will shortly commence an enabling phase for trial running which allows testing in the tunnels to be undertaken with an increased number of trains, further helping to build operational reliability. We are doing everything possible to deliver the Elizabeth Line as safely and quickly as we can.’