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London assembly members slam Boris' 'vanity' transport plans

Labour's London Assembly members have slammed Mayor Boris Johnson for cancelling infrastructure projects such as the Thames Gateway Bridge, instead concentrating on'vanity' projects such as developing a replacement for the iconic Routemaster bus.

Responding to the transport consultation "Way to Go", published in November, The London Assembly's Labour group attacked the proposals.

Transport spokesperson Valerie Shawcross said the plans, which would not fund some £3bn in transport infrastructure, would lead to more congestion, fail to reduce carbon emissions and hold back regeneration.

"This is not good news for London’s travelling public. The proposals as they stand point to a future of overcrowding misery for London commuters, a failure to tackle climate change and an abandonment of London’s economic development and house-building potential.

"The Mayor sees transport in very narrow terms - a way to get people from 'a to b' - and has not grasped the potential for his transport strategy to effect much wider social, economic and environmental change. We are urging the Mayor to be more ambitious, to become a true leader and champion for London. He must take positive decisions in favour of public transport, cycling and pedestrians and look beyond the narrow, short-termism that defines 'Way to Go'."

She said: "The Boris Island airport proposal, the Park Lane underpass, the removal of bendy buses and expensive commissioning of an open backed double decker; there are far more pressing transport needs in London, which have been under funded, under-valued or totally abandoned by the Mayor.

"Boris has been full of warm words about climate change and the need to encourage cycling and walking but his transport plans fail to provide the budget or priority needed to make a real difference. Indeed his actions so far include allowing motorcycles in bus lanes, opposed by the cycle lobby, and pledging to rephase traffic lights in favour of the motorist."

"We are calling on the him to reinstate major infrastructure projects such as the Thames Gateway Bridge and the transit and tram schemes which would have great economic benefits for the areas they serve. Boris needs to think holistically about London’s development and regeneration needs, and stop seeing transport in isolation.

"This is not good news for London's travelling public. The Mayor has great opportunities to send London’s transport into the future, but he seems hell bent on slamming on the breaks," she said.

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