TfL in further cash plea to government to keep London moving
Transport for London has asked the Treasury for a further half a billion worth of support for the rest of the financial year and for a further £1.2bn next year to “ensure London’s recovery” from the pandemic.
Documents submitted by the capital’s transport authority to the government’s spending review include a commitment from TfL to return to a financially sustainable by 2023.
The body has cut planning spending on enhancements and extensions by £5.7bn as a result of the “harsh realities” of a collapse in revenues across the network during Covid-19 lockdowns.
TfL has received three emergency funding packages from central government since March 2020, but Commissioner Andy Byford has made clear he wants a sustainable, longer-term investment deal that allows the body to plan ahead.
The transport network was on a path to an operational surplus before the pandemic hit.
The emergency funding over the next two years is in addition to a longer-term investment package which, TfL say, will help the government achieve its net zero decarbonisation target.
That would include, for instance, £70m to modernise Piccadilly line signalling and £450m to upgrade the Bakerloo line rolling stock.
Electrifying London’s bus fleet is also regarded as a “shovel ready” project by TfL.
Much of the funding would support jobs and prosperity outside of the capital. New Bakerloo line trains, for instance, would support a Siemens manufacturing plant in Lincolnshire.
Projects such as Crossrail 2 and the extension of the Croydon tramlink to Sutton have been placed on the back burner.
“Reduced ridership had a devastating impact on our finances, which we are now rebuilding.
“We are playing a central role in the economic recovery of London and the UK; supporting people as they return to London’s workplaces, businesses, educational institutions, retail and culture, and delivering vital infrastructure and services that support new homes and jobs,” said Byford yesterday.
A Department for Transport spokesperson previously told City A.M. “We have repeatedly shown our commitment to supporting London’s transport network through the pandemic, providing more than £4bn in emergency funding to Transport for London.
“The current funding agreement, which runs until 11 December, take steps to move TfL towards a financially sustainable future in a way that is fair to the national taxpayer.”
Read more: “It’s existential”: TfL boss says Government failure on long-term funding deal would be “betrayal” of London