LONDON MAYOR Ken Livingstone last week launched another legal challenge to Government plans to part-privatise the Tube.
Livingstone applied for a judicial review claiming that the £16bn plan to upgrade the Tube using a public private partnership is under-funded.
He claimed London's taxpayers would eventually end up footing the bill for the project whose contractors are now waiting for final agreement on their private finance packages before starting work.
Livingstone claims the first seven and a half years of the 30 year contracts face a £1.5bn funding shortfall because of differences between estimated and actual costs which have emerged during the procurement process.
Livingstone's transport department, Transport for London (TfL), claimed that London Underground agreed a funding gap existed. 'London Underground itself says the funding gap is £770M, ' said TfL.
London Underground said this week that it was unable to comment on the judicial review, but that it was confident funding gaps would be filled by the Government.
A TfL spokesman said: 'It's not enough to say it'll be all right in the end.' He added that Livingstone and TfL were waiting for a date to be set for a hearing which will determine whether a judicial review can go ahead.
Shortlisted contractors fear that if the review goes ahead the start date for the upgrade may be pushed back from mid-summer.
'Any delays can only be seen as disappointing, ' said a spokesman for Metronet, contractor for the upgrade of the Bakerloo, Central, Victoria, Circle and Metropolitan lines.