Building Crossrail 2 is vital for London’s future – but it’s in the national interest too

 
Rajesh Agrawal
BRITAIN-TRANSPORT-POLITICS
Crossrail 2 will increase rail capacity into central London by 10 per cent and reduce severe crowding by up to 30 per cent on the capital’s Tube and national rail services during the busiest periods. (Source: Getty)

Our nation is at a crossroads. The population of London continues to rise, and without investment in infrastructure our transport network will buckle under the strain of millions more passengers.

That is why Crossrail 2 is so vital. It will increase rail capacity into central London by 10 per cent and reduce severe crowding by up to 30 per cent on the capital’s Tube and national rail services during the busiest periods.

It will transform the connectivity of the transport network in London, improving key Tube lines, the Elizabeth Line, Overground and National Rail, bringing more than 800 stations on the national network within just one interchange. It will improve journey times and connectivity from the Solent to the Wash and will relieve congestion on the already overcrowded rail lines to Portsmouth and Cambridge.

Read more: We should build Crossrail 2 and the private sector is going to pay for it

Crossrail 2 will also unlock billions of pounds of economic growth and must be central to our national industrial strategy. Not only will it boost our economy by up to £150bn, it will support 200,000 new homes and 200,000 new jobs across London and the South East. A commitment to Crossrail 2 will see 60,000 new supply-chain jobs across the UK and 18,000 apprenticeships too. It provides a much-needed pipeline to retain the specialist construction, tunnelling and engineering skills we have developed in London and around the country.

So what’s the hold up? London has already committed to meeting half the cost of Crossrail 2 and it’s estimated that around 40 per cent of transport benefits and 30 per cent of new housing will fall outside London. This more than justifies central government contributing to the remaining costs. The next government must step up and give Crossrail 2 its full backing without delay.

In recent weeks we have seen growing support from all sectors for this ambitious and vital project. Councils stretching from Cambridge to Portsmouth, together with London councils representing the 32 London boroughs, have joined to pledge their support for Crossrail 2, while 60 property experts have backed the project, making the case that unlocking 200,000 new homes would significantly ease the housing crisis.

Read more: Housebuilders urge government to give Crossrail 2 the green light

As part of my role as deputy mayor for business, I speak to companies both large and small in our great city, and they have been clear that investment in key infrastructure is vital to jobs, growth and prosperity. More than 70 business leaders also recently backed the project because they fully understand that building Crossrail 2 simply makes good, sound economic sense – not just for London, but nationwide.

Organisations including EY, Deloitte, Aviva Group, Gatwick Airport, Heathrow Airport, Canary Wharf Group, FSB Surrey & West Sussex, and Surrey, Essex, Hertfordshire, Hampshire, and Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce have all pledged their support. They know Crossrail 2 is an infrastructure project of national importance.

The earliest Crossrail 2 could be running is at the beginning of the 2030s. The next government simply cannot drag its feet on a matter of such national and economic significance; it will unquestionably result in longer delays and place an unbearable strain on the transport network.

London and the South East have shown real commitment to Crossrail 2. The next government must now give it the green light.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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