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The question - Crossrail


This week Crossrail chief executive Norman Haste has set out his plan to cut costs on the £10bn east-west London link to make it deliverable. But should the scheme go ahead at all?

Crossrail should have been built years ago. Cost has always been an issue but the value to the economy of the country balances the arguments against spending the money. The problem at the moment is persuading those who do not use the London transport system that it is worthwhile. I say let's get on with it now before we end up revisiting the project again and again and again in the future.

Mike Jackson, 47, technical director, Preston Those of us who do not live in London couldn't care less about Crossrail. Investing £10bn would be better spent and go a lot further on the crumbling infrastructure in the rest of the country.

Kenneth Brown, 31, assistant engineer, Linlithgow Crossrail is a must to happen in the very near future. There will be a high availability of skilled engineers from the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, which is to be completed soon. The pledge to put a bill before parliament is a good sign and I hope we can work at Crossrail within two years.

Serhat Narsap, 26, engineer, Greater London It seems odd that the government finally decided to support Crossrail at the same time as it withdrew support for urban tram developments elsewhere.

David Rockliff, 49, consultant North Yorkshire It is easy for any government to promote bills to provide new infrastructure; passing legislation is no promise of actual funding availability or project delivery. In today's climate of decentralisation, is spending £10bn on just one city wise? Several cities have congestion issues, and have legislation already passed for transport schemes, yet have been refused additional funding for a fraction of Crossrail costs. Would it not be wiser to spread the financial benefits wider?

When Crossrail's costs escalate to £20bn and the cost benefit ratio falls it will be interesting to see the level of government support then.

Peter Barty, 32, engineer, Hampshire Build it. If we want London to stay at the forefront of the European economy we need to continue investing for the future of the city's infrastructure. Why do we always wait until things reach crisis point in this country, requiring a bigger spend than if we had planned ahead and kept on top of the game?

Brian Rousell, 32, technical support, Sussex The concept of Crossrail is excellent and it is needed. But there are so many caveats in the report that one wonders why anyone, particularly the government, has accepted it. Let's get our act together and put out a proposal that can be delivered in terms of time and cost.

John Brownlie, 32, project director, Shrewsbury Should we spend billions propping up London's failing infrastructure?

Well, not at the expense of the rest of the UK. If there's money to be spent on rail then lets invest it wisely to help prop up the tourist industry of the south west. My suggestion would be to revive the heady days of steam on the Paddington to Penzance line. Hop onto The Cornish Riviera and be whisked away through Britain's rolling green countryside in sumptuous Pullman carriages, pulled by a train that is not a lump of machinery; rather a living, breathing thing of beauty.

Robert Pike, 42, project manager, Cornwall

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