Boris pitches for transport cash with grand plan

BORIS Johnson yesterday made a bold pitch for investment in London’s infrastructure as he continues to battle with the Treasury over funding for the capital’s transport system.

The Mayor of London unveiled his personal 2020 Vision for how he envisages the capital developing over the next decades. At its heart is a lengthy wishlist of transport demands that includes a new river crossing east of Dartford, automating 75 per cent of the tube, and running 40 trains an hour on the Victoria and Jubilee lines.

“We are in the throes of a neo-Victorian surge of investment in mass transit. It is absolutely vital that we do not stop,” Johnson said.

Despite this he faces an uphill struggle to maintain central government funding for the capital during the next round of cuts, due to be announced by chancellor in his spending review on 26 June.

But the Mayor insisted that cuts would jeopardise “our ability to deliver the absolutely vital improvements London’s transport infrastructure needs” and it was a “not an eventuality I envisage”.

He also backed a new tunnel under the Thames at Silvertown and the extension of the Bakerloo line to the south. Other measures include a bid for greater tax autonomy and an attempt to up housebuilding by forcing a “use it or lose it” approach to planning on developers.

Labour’s Lord Adonis, who is heading the campaign for Crossrail 2, told City A.M. Johnson made a major error in cancelling plans for a Thames Gateway Bridge near Woolwich back in 2008.

“London desperately needs more airport capacity and more crossings of the Thames in Docklands and further east. In eights years Boris will not have delivered either, which is costing London billions in lost jobs and business,” he said.