Problems with raising construction costs for Crossrail 2 could see the mega-project pushed back until the 2040s, it has emerged.
Transport for London’s (TfL) business case for Crossrail 2, submitted to the government in March and seen by the Financial Times, raises the possibility of delaying the opening of Crossrail 2 until the 2040s. This would give TfL more time to raise 50% of costs during construction, a requirement set by the Department for Transport.
Construction could be phased under the proposals, moving the original opening date of 2033 back by around a decade. Currently valued at around £31bn, the business case shows costs could climb to more than £45bn.
Problems with securing this funding has already alarmed several London boroughs. An potential tax hike on new developments across London could be used to help pay for Crossrail 2, leaving less funding available for local infrastructure projects such as the Northern Line Extension.
London First infrastructure director David Leam stressed Crossrail 2 is vital to avoid a squeeze on capacity at Euston, caused by HS2.
“A delay into the 2040s would be extremely alarming and extremely problematic for London, given the crowding that is occurring now,” he told New Civil Engineer.
However, Leam added he was still confident the project will go ahead within the original timetable.
“I do not think Transport for London is proposing to delay the scheme at the moment. As far as I’m concerned, Transport for London is in problem-solving mode: looking at the options, working with government, working with businesses and others to identify those funding options that would meet what is a big challenge from government,” he said.
“I am still confident that with some hard work and creativity and a bit of courage, we can come up with a fair funding package that will spread that burden across London, and that would meet the treasury’s test.”
The government has not yet given the green light for Crossrail 2, with a Hybrid Bill not due before parliament until autumn 2019.
Crossrail 2 managing director Michele Dix said: “As agreed with the Department for Transport in July, we are working on a proposal to show how London could fund half of Crossrail 2 during construction. Options we’re looking at feature the majority of the railway opening in the early to mid 2030s, as originally planned.”