London Mayor Sadiq Khan faces fresh allegations that he misled the public about when he first knew about delays to Crossrail.
Khan has regularly maintained that he only became aware of the delay two days before it was made public, on 29 August.
However, according to a dossier revealed by the Times, Khan was given briefing papers at a meeting with Crossrail chiefs on 26 July that outlined that it would not be “feasible” for Crossrail to open on time.
The dossier outlines three scenarios witth different degress of liklihood indicating when signalling testing would be complete, ranging from a low probability scenario with a May 2019 completion date to a high probability scenario in August 2019.
It comes after the London Assembly’s transport committee labelled Khan’s account of the delay as “partial and contradictory”.
However, the Mayor’s Office maintains that Khan did not know about the year-long delay until August.
“Crossrail revised their schedule at the end of August and this was the first point at which the mayor was advised of an opening date for the central section,” a spokesperson for Khan said. “It is not true to say that Crossrail told the mayor in July that they had taken the decision to rule out a December opening date.
“Briefings given to the mayor during July included potential implications of Crossrail’s cost and scheduling pressures not being resolved – contingency planning you would expect with any project of this size and importance.”
News of the dossier comes after Khan wrote to the National Audit Office to state that further funds would be required for Crossrail to be completed despite the mayor’s office releasing an additional £300M for the project and the government loaning a further £350M in recent months.
Khan also expressed “serious concerns” about whether Crossrail’s management “was fit for purpose” in the letter.
“While I agreed £300M additional funding with the government […] we now know that the scale of the issues faced was in fact much greater,” he wrote.
“With the latest revelations about the project’s cost and schedule continue to have significant concerns over transparency on the project and the effectiveness of Crossrail’s governance, strategic risk management, commercial arrangements and assurance regime.”
The National Audit Office is also undertaking its own review into Crossrail after a year-long delay to the £15.4bn project was announced in August.
The public scrutiny body will investigate the causes of the cost increases and schedule delays, the terms of the additional funding, and the governance and oversight of the programme.
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