Motorists could pay the ultimate price of Transport for London’s (TfL) funding crisis, which is expected to reach £1.4bn by 2024-2025.
According to documents shared today, TfL expects to receive up to £300m per year from a series of policies London mayor Sadiq Khan is deciding upon, including the extension of the ultra low emission zone (ULEZ) or the introduction of a Greater London Boundary Charge for drivers that enter the capital.
Part of a budget update that will be considered by TfL’s board tomorrow, the figures paint a bleak picture, as the funding gap will amount to £1.1bn in 2022/2023 going down to £96m by 2024/2025.
TfL, in an attempt to restore its finances, has decided to cut down on projects that initially were prioritised such a ‘healthy streets’. Designed to encourage safe walking and cycling, the project’s budget will be cut by £473m, prompting the cancellation of all uncommitted schemes.
The ‘surface air quality and environment’ and the ‘public transport and technology’ schemes will also face a £281m reduction, while other major projects – including signalling upgrade on the Piccadilly line – will either be cancelled or paused.
According to Nick Bowes, chief executive at think tank Centre for London, cutting programmes such as healthy city will not help either TfL or Londoners.
“Reducing people’s reliance on private cars is crucial if London is to achieve the city’s ambitious net-zero targets, improve air quality, cut congestion and make our streets safer,” he said. “But this will be all the harder if TfL’s healthy streets budget is cut.
“This budget update adds yet more urgency to the government and City Hall agreeing a sustainable, long-term funding deal for TfL.
“Without a funding settlement, we will struggle to build safe, well-designed routes that support people to walk and cycle more.”Nick Bowes, chief executive at think tank Centre for London
The data comes a few days before TfL’s latest round of government funding – which was agreed upon in December – is expected to expire.
“This is a small window into the stark reality of the financial crisis facing TfL, just days away from the current government funding deal expiring,” said a City Hall spokesperson.
“Without a new, sustainable long-term funding deal there is a real risk of major projects being paused, cuts to services, trains falling into disrepair and closures on major road networks.”