Any delay to the new £14.8bn Elizabeth line starting service on time is Transport for London’s (TfL) biggest revenue risk, the body’s deputy chair Val Shawcross has said.
Speaking to the London Assembly budget and performance committee yesterday (Wednesday), Shawcross said the finish time for the Elizabeth line was “one to watch” and the biggest risk to TfL’s revenue if delivered late.
TfL commisioner Mike Brown also confirmed that momentum for Crossrail 2 is “very much real and alive”, ahead of an independent financial review of the project, for which London must pay half of the £31bn cost during its construction.
TfL is now far more reliant on Tube passenger revenues after the government axed its £700M per year grant, forcing it to find millions of pounds in savings by 2021/22. Passenger revenue is therefore crucial to help fund TfL’s major engineering projects.
The Elizabeth line, previously known as Crossrail, is on track to be delivered by December 2018 and fully open by December 2019.
“Obviously there are a basket of risks that have to be looked at by an organisation like TfL, but I would say that looking forward, probably the most significant level, not of risk itself but of the volume of income that could be affected, would be if for any reason we failed to deliver the Elizabeth line,” said Shawcross.
“As we are now an organisation that is so much more reliant on Tube income for our revenue expenditure, any failure to deliver the Elizabeth line on time would be a major revenue risk.”
She added that Elizabeth line revenue returns are “baked into” TfL’s five-year business plan.
When questioned on Crossrail 2’s progress, Brown said he was confident government support for the scheme is solidifying, despite an independent financial review into the £31bn scheme which is due to take place over the next few months.
“I’m confident that the momentum for Crossrail 2 is now very much real and alive, and that actually that independent finance review will allow the favourable outcome to be delivered,” he said.
A Hybrid Bill for Crossrail 2 is expected to go before Parliament either this year or early next year.
TfL has been contacted for comment.