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Crossrail 2 review prompts fresh delays

Crossrail 2 is set for further delays after London’s transport boss admitted a fresh funding review would push back consultations on the scheme until the end of 2018.

Transport for London commissioner Mike Brown admitted he now does not expect TfL’s planned consultation on Crossrail 2 to begin until at least the end of the year, having initially hoped to start the process in January.

In October last year a report to TfL’s Programme and Investment Committee said the consultation would have to begin in early 2018 for the project’s hybrid bill to be submitted in January 2020.

However, this will now be postponed until at least the end of the year, putting the 2020 hybrid bill submission date in jeopardy.

Speaking to the London Assembly’s Budget and Finance Committee, Mr Brown said: “We are confident the momentum for Crossrail 2 is real and alive, and that the independent finance and funding review will allow a favourable outcome to be delivered so a consultation can be carried out towards the end of this year.”

Mr Brown added that despite the delay to the consultation, he was optimistic the hybrid bill could still be submitted within TfL’s current 2020 target date.

A new independent review of Crossrail 2’s funding and financing is set to begin imminently, but could take several months. TfL confirmed it was still working with the DfT to define the terms of the review.

TfL’s latest business case was developed after the government said it would only give the project the green light if it could come up with a way of funding 50 per cent during construction.

Deputy mayor for transport Val Shawcross said that conversations had recently taken pace between the transport secretary Chris Grayling and the mayor of London Sadiq Khan, with both identifying an individual that could carry out the review.

Mr Brown added that these discussions had been constructive, with Mr Grayling outlining the importance of Crossrail 2 as well as the Northern Powerhouse Rail project.

Crossrail 2 is keen to get the hybrid bill submitted as soon as possible so that it can complete its second reading before the next general election in 2022.

Speaking to Construction News in August, Crossrail 2 managing director Michele Dix stressed the importance of meeting that deadline to securing the project’s future.

“The second reading is important because it means the project is supported in principle and will not be pushed back to square one,” she said.

A TfL spokesperson said: “TfL and [the Department for Transport] are working together to agree the terms of reference for the independent financing review.”

A DfT spokesman said: “Crossrail 2 has the potential to unlock new housing, jobs and development and provide London with infrastructure that will support its growth.

“We need to ensure the public gets an affordable scheme that is fair to the UK taxpayer, and are clear that we must improve transport in lockstep across the whole country.”

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