A DEAL to push forward the privately financed Tube upgrade looked more likely this week after preferred bidders for the deep line contracts met London Transport chairman Bob Kiley for the first time.
Sources close to negotiations said the bidders were impressed by the 'conciliatory tone' adopted by Kiley, who has previously opposed the public private partnership (PPP).
Kiley became London Transport chairman two weeks ago under a deal with the government aimed at ensuring that the PPP contracts were signed (News last week). Kiley is also transport commissioner for London.
Sources close to the bidders said he appeared to have dropped his insistence on London's transport body Transport for London (TfL) raising the finance for the upgrade.
Instead he asked bidders to come up with proposals for a management structure which will give TfL some control over operating maintenance and renewals.
Doing this will be difficult because it would reduce the risk that the bidders are expected to take on to ensure that the project can be classified by the government as a PPP.
Failure to agree a new management structure could result in the collapse of the project or a re-tender on new terms.