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Kelly must ring-fence cash for London rail improvements

Transport secretary Ruth Kelly should ring fence cash in the government’s Transport Innovation Fund (TIF) to pay for rail capacity improvements in London, Greater London Authority members said this week.

The fund has often been used to encourage the development of road pricing schemes. But the GLA’s transport committee fears that introducing and extending road pricing in the capital has increased rail demand, putting pressure on capacity.

“Investment in London’s rail infrastructure to increase capacity and reduce overcrowding would benefit a very large number of people,” it says in a report published on Monday.

“We believe a specific pot of funding for London should be set up within the Transport Innovation Fund to facilitate this.”

The report also urges Network Rail and Transport for London to work together to highlight projects which could best benefit from TIF cash.

The report also expressed concern about the slow progress in working out the funding package for the huge £15bn Crossrail project.

It is expected that funding be split equally between farebox revenues private finance and public sector money. But the committee’s report urges the government to confirm this in the Autumn Comprehensive Spending Review.

The report also says TfL and train operators should do more to manage demand for transport in the capital by better coordinating transport modes so that people could move more easily between them.

“Buses are not integrated with trains and cyclists are not well provided for on trains.”

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