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Cambridge mayor breaks down funding plan for £1.7bn metro

Cambridge King's College

Cambridge’s £1.5bn - £1.7bn metro scheme could be funded through investment from “very, very large pension funds”, business taxes and a land value cap system, according to the city’s mayor.

Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough James Palmer told New Civil Engineer that private funding will be sought for the proposed Cambridge Autonomous Metro, which would provide 50,000 to 70,000 new homes and could start operating as soon as 2023 if non-traditional planning routes are taken.

Full details for the metro and its funding package will be released in the autumn. However Palmer confirmed that talks with “very, very large pension funds” are ongoing as private funding is sought for the metro, a mix of 42km of new infrastructure built in the historic city with a 3-4km tunnelled section in the centre.

A land value cap - similar to one mooted by TfL to help fund the £31bn Crossrail 2 proposal - is also being considered, which would see a limit placed on the value of undeveloped land near the proposed metro system. A housing developer looking to build on the land would pay a charge as the houses would not be possible without the metro.

Palmer said a land value cap would help “find significant funds” over the next 30 to 40 years to pay for the Cambridge metro.

“My job as mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is to come up with solutions that are suitable for us and suitable for delivery of world-class infrastructure,” said Palmer.

“The people we’re talking to – very, very large pension funds, international investors – understand entirely the matrix of what I’m putting together and what I’m offering.”

He added: “My job as mayor is to come up with policies that mean I’m not continually begging government for the money to deliver on these projects. And there’s no reason why land value cap can’t work to help fund other projects as well.”

Palmer said there was no reason why a small-scale metro could not be built in the medieval city. Local authorities in Bristol are also mulling over plans for a £4bn metro system.

 

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Readers' comments (1)

  • I was in Cambridge at the weekend. It's a great city that is spoiled by lack of modern public transport. However, it's small. My guess is that greater Cambridge population is around 250000. The smallest city I know that has an underground Metro is Nuremberg (pop 0.5million). But that is way ahead of Cambridge in that it has trams and suburban railways too. A Metro is a step too far for Cambridge. Trams alone would be a leap forward. There are plenty of power systems now that avoid the need for overhead wires in the historic centred. However, uncomfortable decisions would still need to be taken over routes in the built up area. As there would also have to be for a Metro and any sub-surface stations.

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