Sadiq Khan’s promise of a four-year absolute fares freeze has been branded a “risk” to the much-needed Crossrail 2 by Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate Caroline Pidgeon.
On Thursday the National Infrastructure Commission urged ministers to approve the scheme provided Transport for London agrees to fund more than half of its £27bn construction costs. The remainder would be met by central Government.
Following publication of the NIC’s recommendations, Mr Khan said London “desperately needs the extra transport capacity” the scheme offered and called on the government to “move quickly to confirm the precise funding arrangements so we can get Crossrail 2 started on time and on budget.”
But Ms Pidgeon says her rival’s own flagship policy is now a barrier to the scheme going ahead.
TfL’s contribution to the construction costs is expected to be raised through a combination of fares, council tax and a levy on developers.
But before parliament can give Crossrail 2 the go-ahead, the agency needs to do months of surveys, preparatory work and research which is estimated to cost around £160m.
Chancellor George Osborne is expected to use next week’s budget statement to announce some government funding for this work but City Hall insiders confirm TfL will be asked to make a significant contribution, with some sources suggesting the agency could be asked to fund up to £80m.
With Mr Khan claiming his fares pledge will cost £450m, and TfL’s own figures putting the cost at £1.9bn, Ms Pidgeon says her rival “puts at risk any future investment in London’s transport infrastructure.”
She said Mr Khan needed to answer the question: “How will the work needing to start now on Crossrail2 be paid for?” in the event that his promised freeze was implemented.