National Infrastructure Commission chairman Lord Adonis has urged the government to make a final decision on Crossrail 2 next year.
During a Treasury select committee hearing yesterday, the former Labour transport secretary was asked how soon the government needed to decide on the £31bn project.
“Next year,” Lord Adonis replied. “And they need to take firm decisions on the Midlands and the North next year too if it’s going to be possible to develop these projects alongside HS2,” referring to connections to Birmingham Airport and an east-west rail upgrade between Liverpool and Hull.
This echoes calls from Crossrail 2 boss Michele Dix for the government to approve the scheme.
Lord Adonis said getting the go-ahead for Crossrail 2 was achievable despite a Transport for London report to the Department for Transport having suggested completion of the project could be delayed until the 2040s while funding for the £31bn scheme was secured.
The peer said the DfT, the mayor of London and Transport for the North could get the various projects off the ground if they “hammer this out between them, and it all needs to happen next year.”
Lord Adonis said a quick decision on these schemes was critical to coincide with phase two of HS2 arriving in Manchester and Leeds.
He added that completing Crossrail 2 by 2030 was critical, as the “pressure on Euston” from the additional passengers “will be enormous”.
“It’s so dangerous at the moment that at the morning peak, the Northern and Victoria platforms are sometimes closed because they simply can’t take the pressure,” he said.
“That’s now. Think about what it’s going to be like in 2032/33 if we don’t have Crossrail 2.”
HS2 has rejected the suggestion that Euston will not be able to cope with the extra passengers arriving when the high-speed line begins operation around 2026.
Sadiq Khan reaffirmed his commitment today to get TfL to meet half the cost of Crossrail 2.