Metropolitan extension needs additional £50m to ‘save project’
Work on the Metropolitan Line extension will require an additional £50m to be completed, and is at risk of stalling completely without extra funds, according to London Assembly member Gareth Bacon.
In a letter to Bacon, TfL’s head of rail investment confirmed that the mayor, Sadiq Khan, and TfL are writing to the DfT requesting additional funding for the project which has seen its costs balloon to £284m.
The previous mayor of London, Boris Johnson, had pledged £49m to the project, but according to recent cost projections by TfL, the Metropolitan Line now needs an additional cash injection again to be finished.
Bacon accused the current mayor of putting the line’s extension into jeopardy due to his poor decision-making. “His partial fares freeze has put TfL’s budget in total turmoil, and left him with no room to move if new expenses crop up,” he said.
“This £284m project was set to provide London with new links to thriving areas but, as is common in large projects, costs have increased over time.”
Bacon concluded saying: “The mayor will not be able to find this funding and instead wants the government to accept the burden of saving this project.”
When asked for comment, David Hughes, London Underground’s director of strategy and service development, confirmed:"After taking on the Metropolitan Line Extension from Hertfordshire County Council we have undertaken a detailed review to establish the true cost of the project.
"Following this extensive work we estimate that to complete the extension, which is located outside of London, we would need to double the funding commitment we have already made, requiring more than an additional £50m that we are unable to provide."
Hughes did add that this announcement did not mean the project had been cancelled, adding that London Underground, "remain open to helping assist the DfT in finding an alternative funding package for the project, or alternative schemes that may be more affordable".
This news follows a long series of difficulties that the extension has faced with its funding, something which has led to speculation about the project being called off.
Back in December, RTM reported that the project, which will see the line extended from Croxley to Watford junction via Watford high street, was once again declared as being over-budget as the DfT announced that delivery costs had more than doubled from £116.8m to £284.8m.
At that time, the transport minister Andrew Jones said “the costs of the scheme are currently higher than the agreed budget”, going on to explain that the rising costs could be put down to “prices received from the supply chain”.
However, Jones also said the government would not be putting any more funds into the project, and expected TfL to complete the works as agreed.
Before that, it was reported that TfL had to plug an enormous £2.73m worth of unbudgeted funding before it could even begin works on the already delayed project.
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