Transport for London (TfL) has announced a £9.2bn budget for 2009/2010 which will fund the delivery of a series of major transport improvements as part of its multi-billion pound investment programme.
The £9.2bn budget, up from £8.1bn last year, reflects the delivery of all of Mayor Boris Johnson’s transport initiatives and manifesto commitments including on-going investment to upgrade the Tube, build Crossrail, extend the East London Line and DLR and implement major cycling initiatives.
But lower projections for future fare revenue caused by the recession and the drain on TfL’s resources caused by the collapse of Metronet means that some work planned for 2009/10 must be cancelled or deferred until a later date.
This means the Greenwich Waterfront Transit Scheme will be cancelled given the Mayor’s earlier decision not to proceed with the Thames Gateway Bridge. Works at some Tube stations will also be deferred, including the project to install step free access to the Circle and Metropolitan lines at Baker Street.
The Labour group on the London Assembly criticised the decision, highlighting that both schemes were considered key parts of London’s 2012 Olympics transport plan.
The Greenwich Waterfront Transit scheme was, according to TfL, “a key part of public transport improvements to support the regeneration in the London Thames Gateway area [that] will help to improve access to employment, education, healthcare and leisure services for local communities” and “improve connections for the 2012 Games”
Similarly it said that step-free access at Baker Street was part of TfL’s “commitments for the 2012 Games” to “provide step-free access” at this specific location.
Labour group leader, Len Duvall, said: “This is the pay more, get less Mayor who raises fares and wastes money on wild vanity schemes but can’t find the money for the key transport projects to see London through the recession. Everyone accepts the need for a certain amount of belt-tightening but this should focus the Mayor on the key improvements London’s transport system needs. What we are seeing is a shift in priorities away from viable, necessary schemes towards the Mayor’s eye-catching vanity projects”
The year ahead includes:
- the completion of the upgrade of the Jubilee line, delivering a 33% increase in capacity to serve an extra 10,000 passengers an hour
- the start of the redevelopment of Tottenham Court Road Underground station to provide vital additional capacity and serve Crossrail
- the start of works at the new Isle of Dogs Crossrail station
- intensification of the work to extend the East London line - as part of London Overground
- continuation of work on the DLR, in preparation for the 2012 Games
- works to deliver the Mayor’s Cycle Hire Scheme and the first Cycle Highways
- initiatives to help smooth traffic flow.
“We are committed to transforming our transport infrastructure, and are investing billions to create a network that Londoners will recognise as vastly improved from the one we have now. We will continue to upgrade the Tube, build Crossrail, prepare for the 2012 Games and create the thousands of jobs so vital to steering us through this period of economic turbulence,” said London Mayor Boris Johnson.
“TfL have done their best to balance their books in an extremely tough economic climate. At the same time as the downturn, the ramifications of the failure of the beast that was Metronet have also become increasingly clear. We are doing all we can, but we also need the Government to play its part by taking responsibility for the PPP that it inflicted on London, and providing the necessary support to improve London’s transport system.”
The budget, which includes both operating costs and capital investment, is underpinned by a drive for at least £2.4bn of efficiency savings that will be delivered over the nine year term of TfL’s Business Plan.
London’s Transport Commissioner, Peter Hendy, said: “Alongside this massive investment is the need to deliver clear value for money for London’s taxpayers and farepayers. TfL has responded to this challenge by identifying at least £2.4bn in savings and efficiencies, which we are making excellent progress in delivering. Our costs will also be subject to further on-going review.”