Crossrail will receive an emergency loan of £ 825million to help complete construction and prevent the project from being put on hold and crippled indefinitely.
The Mayor of London, Transport for London (TfL), the Department for Transport (DfT) and the UK Treasury have confirmed and approved the funding and financial package for the final phase of the project, meaning that work on the way to iron can continue at a steady pace.
Crossrail Ltd announced in August that the Elizabeth Line had again been delayed until 2022 and would need additional funding of £ 1.1 billion to be completed.
Last month, London Transport Commissioner Andy Byford warned the DfT that if an additional funding deal was not reached soon, “we will have no choice but to put the project on hold and to seek alternative governance for its eventual completion ”.
The deficit will initially be covered by the Greater London Authority (GLA) borrowing up to £ 825million from DfT, which will be provided by GLA to TfL as a grant. The GLA will repay this loan from the revenue from the Business Rate Supplement (BRS) and the Municipal Community Infrastructure Tax (MCIL).
The new Elizabeth line, which runs through the heart of London, will now open more than four years late and cost almost £ 4 billion than originally planned. The giant infrastructure project was originally slated to cost £ 14.8 billion, with services scheduled to start operating in December 2018.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “Securing this financial package allows us to move forward with opening the central section of the Elizabeth Line as soon as possible. The government has insisted that London must pay for the shortfall – despite the overwhelming majority of tax revenues that will result from Crossrail going to the Treasury. This is another example of London supporting the country far beyond the help we receive from this government.
“I don’t want this project stalled, so digging deep is essential to get the railroad up and running. I will continue to closely monitor progress and do all I can to minimize costs – helping to ensure that London and beyond can reap its many benefits as soon as possible.
Andy Byford, London Transport Commissioner, said: ‘I have been very clear that my priority is to open the railway as soon as possible and everyone working on the Crossrail project is also focusing on that. Confirming this funding is a critical step in ensuring the team can fully focus on the safe delivery of the Elizabeth Line, which is so vital to increasing rail capacity and supporting the economy. “
Mark Wild, Managing Director of Crossrail Ltd, said: “Delivery of the Elizabeth Line is now in its complex final stages. Good progress continues to be made with the completion of the remaining infrastructure work so that we can begin intensive operational testing, known as Trial Running, as early as possible in 2021. Many stations are now nearing completion and We will soon begin an activation phase for Trial Le rolling, which allows tests to be carried out in tunnels with an increased number of trains, thus helping to strengthen operational reliability. We are doing everything possible to deliver the Elizabeth line as safely and quickly as possible. “
Governance of Crossrail transferred directly to TfL in October. A special committee of TfL’s board of directors, the Elizabeth Line Committee, provides high-level oversight of the project. The project remains jointly sponsored by TfL and DfT, and an independent representative of DfT will attend committee meetings.
When fully opened, the Elizabeth Line will increase central London’s rail capacity by 10%, capable of carrying over half a million passengers per day, and support new journeys through central London to Essex and Berkshire. The new railway is expected to support thousands of new homes and jobs and will boost the UK economy by £ 42 billion.