Crossrail 2 may have been delayed before government approval has even been given, according to Sadiq Khan.
The £41.3bn rail project – a new Tube line running from North to South London – is in limbo as it awaits for the Department for Transport (DfT) to deliberate on its business plan.
Under the current funding model, Transport for London (TfL) would be expected to pick up half of the £41.3bn bill.
Speaking at Mayor’s Question time today, Khan said Crossrail 2 is already facing a hurdle to opening on time, an unspecified year in the 2030s, thanks to the near three-year delay of Crossrail.
“Funds earmarked for Crossrail 2 have been temporarily diverted to repay the central government package to complete the [Crossrail] Elizabeth Line,” he said.
“This means that unless there are other ways of agreeing with the government on how construction will be funded, London will not be able to pay 50 per cent without delaying Crossrail 2.
“We’ll be in discussion with the government ahead of this year’s spending review to explore options in this context for taking Crossrail 2 forward to the next stage.”
Some are speculating the near three-year delay and budget overruns of Crossrail, coupled with the government’s plans to invest heavily in the North, mean Crossrail 2 will not receive the government’s tick of approval.
The Elizabeth line – which will connect Reading and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east -was expected to open in December 2018 at a cost of £14.9bn.
The opening date for the central part of the line is now expected between June and December 2021, while the entire line will not be open until mid-2022.
The project cost has also risen to £18.25bn.
Adam Tyndall, Infrastructure programme director at advocacy group London First, said the case for Crossrail 2 was not dented by delays to the Elizabeth line.
“The fundamental case for Crossrail 2…[is that it will] ease capacity with London’s growing population, and relieve congestion bottlenecks at major stations like Waterloo, Victoria, Euston, and Clapham Junction,” he said.
“It is clear there is a vital need across the wider South East for Crossrail 2, and the government should take immediate steps, such as providing funds for Hybrid Bill development in the forthcoming Budget.”
A Department for Transport spokesperson said it was committed to growing London’s infrastructure.
“Crossrail 2 could provide a crucial solution to address capacity issues on London’s rail and tube networks, while also improving connectivity across London and the South East,” they said.
“We’re currently considering a business case for the project, but the government will need to see a realistic and achievable 50 per cent funding proposal from London regarding Crossrail 2. We will continue to work constructively with London on this and the next steps for the project.”