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London needs new sources of transport cash

Investment in improvements to London’s transport network is half what it should be, Transport for London managing director of planning Michèle Dix told the conference.

Current investments totalling £38bn are “not enough”, she said, adding that a figure of £80bn would get the job done.

Dix said that London was facing a projected 1.3M increase in its population by 2031 and that the current upgrade programme would fail to stave off further overcrowding on the network by then.

Exploring alternative finance

She accepted that it was unlikely that extra public money would be available and said that other financing methods had to be explored.

“There are lots of other things we want to do, and we have to find new sources of money,” she said.

The Community Infrastructure Levy, which is being used for Crossrail, supplementary business rates, user charging – including on roads and rail – European Union growth funding and sponsorship, as with the Emirates Air Line cable car, were all potential sources of extra investment, said Dix.

She added that economic growth in London will support the growth across the rest of the UK and fended off criticism about the way transport planning is conducted in the capital.

When asked why there was so much focus on radial rather than orbital transport systems, she said this was because the network was focused on the centre of London, which is the main employment centre.

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