Boris Johnson’s successor must “open up” a debate about using new road usage levies to help fund the infrastructure needed to support London’s continued growth, according to leading engineers.
The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) says more than £1.3trillion of investment in new transport, energy, water and waste infrastructure will be needed by 2050 and warns that government alone will be unable to provide the necessary funds.
The organisation wants the next Mayor to establish an “Infrastructure Trust” to develop and implement a range of “innovative” fundraising models, including the possibility of expanding road charging beyond the current Congestion Charge Zone.
Between 2004-2014 the Congestion Charge generated £1.2billion which was invested back into the capital’s transport network and ICE says a “complete review” of road user charges is now needed to see whether further charging zones are needed to cut congestion and raise additional funds.
Suzanne Moroney, ICE London Director, said: “Our industry, innovators and academics have a responsibility to help drive down costs through use of emerging technologies, but the next Mayor must also be innovative and radical when it comes to securing new funding sources.”
”The Infrastructure Trust set up by the Mayor of Chicago, which issues bonds for the private sector to invest in, has paid for a $12million energy retrofit scheme for 60 buildings and is earmarked to fund a high speed rail link to O’Hare Airport. We must learn from and seek to replicate success stories like this.
“We must also open up the ‘user pays’ debate – a principle that is adopted across most infrastructure through utility bills and transport fares.
“Road user charging is a means of allowing a payback income stream for infrastructure investments, and when combined with effective management tools and technology, schemes can also help to reduce traffic and vehicle use.
“We would like to see a review of road user charging conducted by the next Mayor to assess whether new charging zones or tolls are required, and how any future schemes could increase revenue for future transport projects.
“We look forward to working with the Mayor and Assembly to ensure London’s continued prosperity and growth.”
ICE has published 10 recommendations for London’s next Mayor and London Assembly to consider:
- Commit to the London Infrastructure Plan 2050 and set out a clear prioritisation strategy within 6 months of entering City Hall.
- Support the Government’s final decision on the 2015 Airports Commission Report.
- Create a Regional Forum for authorities from London and the South East to discuss key infrastructure issues.
- Develop a “London Resilience Plan 2050” mapping out how the capital will adapt to long term climate changes and environmental disasters.
- Improve energy efficiency and increase local energy generation.
- Expand STEM in the London Curriculum and the London Schools Excellence Fund.
- Launch a skills campaign to increase the number of qualified civil engineers in London.
- Focus Transport for London’s investment to unlock areas for housing, jobs and investment in the Capital.
- Harness different funding and finance methods to pay for London’s infrastructure.
- Review Road User Charges with the revenue generated directed to infrastructure improvements.