Chancellor Philip Hammond namechecked the £31bn Crossrail 2 rail project in today's Autumn Budget, though he stopped short of giving a concrete commitment on funding for it.
"We continue to work with TfL on the funding and financing of Crossrail 2," the chancellor said today.
The rail project serving stations throughout the south east has been deemed a necessity for easing overcrowding in the capital coming years. Crowding and congestion at the likes of Clapham Junction, Vauxhall and Wimbledon, are forecast to be “critically overcrowded” by the 2030s, according to Transport for London (TfL) forecasts.
But the government has called on London to meet half the costs during construction, an ask London mayor Sadiq Khan has described as "onerous".
And today, shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said there was "still no solid commitment" to Crossrail 2.
"If the Tories keep delaying it, the skilled personnel who delivered Crossrail 1 might not be retained, driving up the cost of the project," he tweeted.
Still no solid commitment to Crossrail 2. If the Tories keep delaying it, the skilled personnel who delivered Crossrail 1 might not be retained, driving up the cost of the project. #Budget2017— Andy McDonald MP (@AndyMcDonaldMP) November 22, 2017
Khan told City A.M. last month he was "quietly confident" of getting revised funding plans for Crossrail 2 green lit despite this. Further talks are planned between TfL and the secretary of state just after the Budget, said London deputy mayor for transport Val Shawcross at the Construction News summit.
TfL commissioner Mike Brown said earlier this month that the Crossrail 2 team had assessed how to phase the project in order to meet the government's request.
"If logic prevails, then they should give us the green light to start going through the parliamentary process for approval to get this thing open by the 2030s when it's needed," Brown added.
The timeline for the project is particularly sensitive due to its connection to the incoming HS2. Crossrail 2 managing director Michèle Dix said that London cannot cope with the surge of passengers expected from HS2, without Crossrail 2 too.
When Phase 2 of HS2 opens, Crossrail 2 is needed in order to help with the "marked uplift in passengers then arriving at Euston", so the team wants Crossrail construction underway to get it in place for when HS2 Phase 2 is complete.
In July, transport secretary Chris Grayling said he was a supporter of the project, "but given its price tag we have to ensure that we get this right".