Treasury minister Liz Truss has been handed responsibility for Crossrail 2, raising hopes that the £31bn project will be taken forward.
Speculation had heightened about the future of the cross-London route after it was omitted from the Conservative manifesto and last month’s Queen’s Speech.
However, in the first significant government mention of Crossrail 2 since the election, the project has appeared as one of Ms Truss’ responsibilities in her Treasury profile since moving from being justice secretary.
As chief secretary to the Treasury, her other responsibilities include infrastructure spending, housing and planning, High Speed 2, roads, Network Rail and the Oxford/Cambridge corridor.
David Leam, infrastructure director of business body London First, told Construction News: “I take it as an encouraging sign that the Treasury is taking it (Crossrail 2) seriously. Clearly there are still some formidable obstacles to come though.”
Last month the head of Crossrail 2 admitted that the timetable for submitting a hybrid bill for the project had been put back to at least 2020.
Delays to the project could cost £2bn a year, according to Crossrail 2 managing director Michele Dix.
Transport for London submitted the project’s strategic outline business case to the government in March but the Surrey-to-Hertfordshire link has yet to receive the green light from transport secretary Chris Grayling.
CN revealed last month that London mayor Sadiq Khan had written a letter to chancellor Philip Hammond urging him to publicly back Crossrail 2 after fears emerged that the government was “cooling” on the scheme.
A DfT spokeswoman told Construction News today: “As with all transport scheme proposals, a thorough analysis is being carried out by the department to ensure it is a robust scheme.
“This includes examining whether the National Infrastructure Commission’s detailed recommendations on the scheme have been met.
“These considerations are part of a normal ongoing process, and the next steps and timescales will be decided as part of our analysis.”
Elsewhere at the Treasury, exchequer secretary Andrew Jones will be responsible for infrastructure delivery, the Northern Powerhouse, the Midlands Engine, “promoting (the) UK as a destination for foreign direct investment”, the National Infrastructure Commission and the Infrastructure Projects Authority sponsorship – jointly with the Cabinet Office.