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12.10.18

How will Crossrail 2 be paid for? Boss backs tax hike, says ‘we must make scheme more affordable’

The managing director for Crossrail 2 has outlined the plans for cutting costs for Crossrail 2, stating that TfL “need to make it more affordable.”

Speaking to delegates at an event in Whitehall yesterday, Dr Michèle Dix, managing director for Crossrail 2 at TfL, said she “wished it was cheaper,” but noted that the £30bn project will make inroads in dealing with growing demand around the city – particularly in areas from the north-east south-west corridor, south west rail, and the surge in passengers to central London from the north when HS2 is fully up and running.

“We have all heard about Crossrail 1, it’s very sad, very disappointing, very frustrating, but we mustn’t lose focus of what we’re trying to achieve in London,” she said. “Crossrail 2 remains a crucial project within the mayor’s transport strategy. It’s got a powerful strategic case, it answers many of the questions that you’ve got to address.

“Crossrail 2 is a £30bn scheme; I wish it was cheaper. We’re trying to make it cheaper, but it is a big scheme. It will add £150bn to the economy when it is built so it is worth doing. It’s all about developing a sustainable London; Crossrail 2 sits at the very heart of that strategy.”

The cost of Crossrail 2 will be under even greater scrutiny from the public and politicians alike following reports earlier this year that Crossrail has soared £600m over budget and was delayed by at least an extra nine months.

Dr Dix outlined a number of different ways Crossrail 2 could push down the massive figure facing Londoners for its operational start date in the early 2030s.

The first was value engineering: through lessons learnt from Crossrail 1, how can savings be identified in planning and building to make it more efficient, delivering planning exactly as intended?

Dr Dix also queried whether more money could be raised by “direct beneficiaries” of Crossrail 2. “We have outlined how London and developers and businesses can pay for it, but are there other beneficiaries of Crossrail?” asked the project boss. She noted that of the homes Crossrail 2 will benefit, 30% of them will be outside London, with a £60bn land value uplift that Crossrail 2 will deliver along the route.

Other sources of income include encouraging investment from the private sector to fund whole or significant parts of stations, so it is “beneficial overall for them to do so,” Dix added. She said all of these streams of funding will be considered in the 2019 Spending Review.

When asked by discussion chair Steven Hammond personally which route Dr Dix would take, she said she would raise taxes to fund the project.

Yesterday APPG chair for Crossrail Mike Gapes said he would “wait a little bit longer” to receive benefits on Crossrail.

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