A Taksforce report by business group, London First named ‘Funding Crossrail 2’ has found that the new £12bn underground rail line planned to ease chronic train overcrowding in London could be built with less than half the cost coming from central government, meeting a key Treasury demand.
Crossrail 2, the proposed new south-west to north-east rail line beneath the capital, would add 12% to London’s rail transport capacity and should open by 2030, the report also found. It concludes the new line will be crucial to meeting otherwise ‘intolerable pressure’ on the capital’s transport network as London grows by an additional 1.5m people over the next 20 years.
Crossrail 2 already has overwhelming public support, with a recent Transport for London and Network Rail consultation showing 95% of almost 14,000 respondents ‘strongly supporting’ or ‘supporting’ the scheme.
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Taskforce members included KPMG, John Lewis, BAML, Tony Travers from the London School of Economics, and former transport secretary Lord Adonis. Taskforce chair, Francis Salway, former Chief Executive of Land Securities, said Crossrail 2 was key to easing chronic over-crowding on many of London’s rail lines in the near future.
“Failure to invest would make life intolerable for Londoners, hamper London’s economic growth and hit government tax receipts,” he warned. “We may be half way through Crossrail 1, but its success – and the pressing need for extra capacity in London – means now is the time to be pushing forward with plans for Crossrail 2.”
Last year, announcing the government’s contribution of £2m to support initial work on the project’s feasibility, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander challenged Crossrail 2 supporters to show “how at least half of the cost of the scheme can be met through private sources, ensuring it will be affordable to the UK taxpayer”.
The London First study found that by combining funding from passengers, property developers, Network Rail, London businesses and residents, that challenge for green-lighting Crossrail 2 can be met.
Today’s report identifies over £23bn of potential funding – almost double the estimated £12bn cost – with those who benefit most from Crossrail 2 doing most to fund it.
Even at the higher end of the cost estimates – which include a 66% risk premium required by the Treasury – the study found the line would generate £1.80 for every pound spent, rising to £4.10 for every pound spent if wider economic benefits are taken into account.
Crossrail 2 is a proposed new south-west to north-east rail line providing services between Hertfordshire and parts of Surrey and Middlesex via a new tunnel under central London between Tottenham and Wimbledon.
The scheme is based on the Chelsea-Hackney route, which was first planned in the 1970s alongside an east-west link, which eventually became Crossrail. Land along the proposed route remains protected from new development.