Labour mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan has been criticised by rivals after mistakenly claiming that the Government had been urged to fund Crossrail 2’s full development costs.
Last week the National Infrastructure Commission called on ministers to approve the scheme provided that Transport for London meets more than half of its projected £27bn construction costs.
Before parliament can authorise the project, the capital’s transport agency needs to carry out additional surveys, preparatory work and research which it’s estimated will cost around £160m.
Overnight reports suggest Chancellor George Osborne will use tomorrow’s budget to announce that the Treasury will cover half of these costs leaving TfL, as reported by MayorWatch last week, paying the remaining £80m.
On Tuesday Mr Khan’s campaign issued a statement claiming “it had been widely expected that the Chancellor would allocate the £160 million needed for the next stage of planning for Crossrail 2 in the Budget tomorrow (Wednesday).”
In the statement, Mr Khan said: “This is only half of the money that Lord Adonis says is needed.
“This amount of money will help fund ongoing preliminary works, but hard-pressed commuters deserve something more concrete from the Government if we are to get Crossrail 2 properly off the drawing board and construction started.”
However the Labour candidate’s claims are at odds with the Commission’s report which said TfL “should be expected to make a reasonable contribution” to the scheme’s development costs.
One of the report’s key recommendations states: “Sufficient development funds should be released in order for TfL and DfT to submit a revised business case for Crossrail 2 by March 2017 and aim to introduce a hybrid bill by autumn 2019.
“The revised business case should include developed plans on costs, funding, housing and stations. TfL estimates the overall development cost at c.£160m, to which TfL should be expected to make a reasonable contribution.”
Mr Khan’s rivals for the mayoralty have been eager to seize on his error, suggesting it reveals a lack of detailed understanding about what is likely to be the biggest transport scheme overseen by the next mayor.
Liberal Democrat contender Caroline Pidgeon said: “This is yet more evidence Sadiq Khan doesn’t understand the scale of the mayoralty or the funding responsibilities which come with it.
“London has already suffered from eight years of a mayor disinterested in details, it doesn’t need another four years of gaffes and pointless grandstanding.”
Meanwhile a spokesman for Tory candidate Zac Goldsmith said: “This is another sign that when it comes to properly funding transport investment, Khan’s experiments would put our City at risk.
“Khan is right, the future of Crossrail 2 is not guaranteed: it depends on a Mayor who can competently manage London’s economy and work with Government to finance investment. That couldn’t happen with Khan’s £1.9 billion black hole.”