Sadiq Khan urges government to continue investing in future TfL projects
The Mayor of London nhas called on the government to continue funding Transport for London’s future projects.
Sadiq Khan told City A.M: “The history of London Underground shows that you’ve got to invest now for the future, you can’t stand still,”
“We need government support for further investment in both the underground network and more widely in TfL.”
Khan’s remarks come a few months after the government agreed to a 19-month funding deal to help TfL recover after its coffers were left empty by the pandemic’s impact on ridership.
Announced at the end of August following months of strenuous negotiations between City Hall, TfL management and government officials, the deal will keep the network running until the spring of 2024.
As part of the agreement, TfL will receive an additional £1.2bn base funding on top of the £3.6bn of capital funding put forward by ministers.
This will spare TfL the initially anticipated “managed decline” scenario, which included a raft of cuts to bus and tube services.
Interim TfL commissioner Andy Lord told City A.M. the long-term funding deal remained a key priority.
“We have had additional conversations with the central government about potential for further funding for our capital projects,” Lord said.
Even though it’s still “very early days,” the commissioner remained “reasonably optimistic” about talks progressing positively.
Nevertheless, TfL will be forced to make tough choices in the next few years as the government’s funding left a £230m deficit.
Khan warned of “tough decisions needed elsewhere” when he announced in December an additional £25m worth of funding to save over 50 bus routes from being axed.
This could mean hiking TfL’s fares by 5.9 per cent, in line with government guidance.
“Transport for London will now enter discussions with the government about the implications of the national rail fare rise given the strict conditions ministers have placed on TfL as part of emergency funding deals during the pandemic,” a City Hall spokesperson said today.
Khan is reportedly set to make a decision shortly.
The £25m support was in addition to a £500m funding facility set up by City Hall in September to cover the government funding gap.