LONDON MAYOR Ken Livingstone this week gained the power to press ahead with construction of the long awaited East London Line (ELL) extension.
Livingstone was handed control of ELL by transport secretary Alistair Darling following his review of the 10 year transport plan, The Future of Transport.
Darling also gave the green light for Livingstone's transport executive Transport for London to borrow £2.9bn to get work on the first phase completed by mid-2010.
This will create an artery connecting the run-down east end of London to the rest of the capital's transport network by linking to Dalston Junction in the north and Crystal Palace and West Croydon in the south.
ELL is one of the transport schemes considered key to the success of London's bid to host the 2012 Olympics (NCE 8 July).
'Transport will be crucial to a successful British bid for the 2012 Olympics, and the mayor is guaranteeing to fund and provide a package of transport improvements that will underpin and provide lasting benefits to London, ' Darling said.
The government is throwing its weight behind the ELL by putting up £340M of new transport funding and backing Transport for London's borrowing plans.
A second line running from Surrey Quays to Clapham Junction will be added at a later date.