Who is paying for Crossrail 2?

Labour in London has long supported the Hackney-Chelsea line and the latest incarnation of this proposal is Andrew Adonis’ Crossrail 2 proposal.

Labour in London has long supported the Hackney-Chelsea line and the latest incarnation of this proposal is Andrew Adonis’ Crossrail 2 proposal

This announcement of a preferred route by the Mayor, Boris Johnson, is a big step forward for a project which is vitally important for London’s economic future.

Crossrail 2 will have a transformative effect on the capital and the surrounding regions, opening up vast new areas for regeneration and creating new jobs and economic opportunities. With London’s population set to grow to 10m by 2030 and 11.3m by 2050, there is a clearly evidenced need for high quality transport infrastructure like HS2.

Crossrail 2 will resolve two specific issues facing London, but let’s be clear, the economic growth resulting from Crossrail 2 will help power the whole country’s future.

Firstly, by taking over South West trains London metro routes and diverting them away from Clapham Junction and Waterloo, and instead into a new tunnel at Wimbledon, it will increase the capacity on the south west train lines. By ensuring that Crossrail 2 trains do not have to share track with intercity south west trains it will mean you can run more trains closer together.

Secondly, it will provide extra capacity at Euston station, which will be the terminus for High Speed 2 services and allow those passengers greater access to the London transport network.

Whilst the announcement of a preferred route is significant, as well as the fact that the project has all party support, what we need to see now is the fully worked-up funding package which will make this project a reality.

The project is estimated to cost around £20bn and PricewaterhouseCoopers are currently investigating a number of funding options, which they plan to publish before the autumn statement. One of the options is for a similar funding settlement to Crossrail 1, which means around £6.4bn would come from government, with £13.6bn coming from London taxpayers, fare payers and businesses.

Any funding package needs to be fair. As London First argue, “Central government would benefit from Crossrail 2 through increased tax receipts and Network Rail would benefit through reduced congestion. Passengers, residents, businesses and developers in London would also benefit and should all contribute to make Crossrail 2 a reality”.

We should also use this project as an opportunity to enhance London’s fiscal devolution.

The Greater London Authority, City of London and the 32 boroughs keep just 7 per cent of the taxes London’s residents and businesses generate. In New York that figure is 50 per cent.

By allowing London to keep more of its taxes and make its own decisions on its transport infrastructure needs we should see a vast improvement in outcomes. You only have to look at the success of London Overground to see that devolving decisions from Whitehall to London is a win win for everyone.

Val Shawcross is the London Assembly Labour Group spokeswoman for Transport and assembly member for Lambeth and Southwark

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