Government commits to funding Crossrail completion

Crossrail project
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The project has been beset by a series of delays and cost overruns, raising concerns over its delivery.

The decision to finance the completion of the project was confirmed in the government’s National Infrastructure Strategy, which insists levelling up the rest of the UK should not mean levelling London down.

“The government is continuing to address capacity issues in the capital, by financing the completion of Crossrail, but has agreed that Transport for London will stop development on Crossrail 2,” the National Infrastructure Strategy states.

“This frees up investment to raise the performance of public transport networks in the regional cities towards London’s gold standard.”

Crossrail – known as the Elizabeth Line – was originally expected to open in December 2018. A revised opening date of summer 2021 was announced earlier this year, before the full impact of the coronavirus pandemic was realised.

 

In August, it was announced that the opening date had been pushed back to the first half of 2022, with an additional £1.1bn needed to complete the central section of the London route. The delay was attributed to the impact of Covid-19 and subsequent working restrictions on site.

Last week, reports emerged that Transport for London (TfL) commissioner Andy Byford had written to the Department for Transport (DfT), requesting £80M to prevent the project from being mothballed.

It is unclear whether the government’s funding commitment outlined in the National Infrastructure Strategy includes this additional £80M.

Responding to today's announcement, a TfL spokesperson said: “We welcome the commitment from the chancellor as part of today’s Spending Review on financing the completion of Crossrail. We now need to have urgent discussions to ensure the funding can be in place as soon as possible to allow the project to continue.”

As well as backing Crossrail, the government has also confirmed how transport investment will be rolled out across the country. Key investment includes:

 

North East

  • Tyne and Wear and Tees Valley will benefit from intra-city transport settlements starting from 22/23.
  • Providing £209M to the North East including £16M to redevelop Sunderland Central Station.

North West

Yorkshire and Humber

  • Sheffield and Leeds City Regions will benefit from intra-city transport settlements starting from 22/23.
  • Providing £319M to West Yorkshire Combined Authority including £30m for active and sustainable travel across Bradford, and £171M to Sheffield City Region including for a new bus rapid transit link.
  • Developing schemes including the A1 from Doncaster to Darrington.

West Midlands

  • West Midlands Combined Authority will benefit from intra-city transport settlements starting from 22/23.
  • The Transforming Cities Fund provides £321M to West Midlands Combined Authority to invest in public transport schemes.
    • Upgrading the A46 Coventry Junctions.

East Midlands

  • Providing £169M to Derby & Nottingham including £25M for bus rapid transit in Derby, and £40M to Leicester.
  • Progressing the North Hykeham Relief Road in Lincolnshire.

East of England

  • Providing £39M to Norwich including a mobility hub at Norwich station, and £95M to Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to invest in public transport schemes.
  • Building the Great Yarmouth Third River Crossing in Norfolk and Lake Lothing Third Crossing in Suffolk.

London & South East

  • Providing £60M to Portsmouth and South East Hampshire including the relocation of Gosport bus station and taxi rank, and £63M to Southampton including new rapid bus links.
  • Investing in the Lower Thames Crossing and financing the completion of Crossrail.

South West

  • The West of England Combined Authority will benefit from intra-city transport settlements starting from 22/23.
  • Providing £59M to Plymouth including £12M to improve walking and cycling, and £79M to Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole.
  • Investing in the A303 Stonehenge scheme, and in MetroWest to improve rail services across Bristol and the surrounding region.
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