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'Talks needed' over Crossrail 2 funding

Summer talks with government will help determine how Crossrail 2 will be funded, the deputy mayor of London has said.

Heidi Alexander told the London Assembly budget committee yesterday that using its business rate supplement and mayoral community infrastructure levy to pay back a loan of up to £1.3bn from the Department for Transport for the first Crossrail was necessary because the east to west rail scheme needs to be completed first.

The revenue streams had been earmarked for Crossrail 2 but are instead being used on the Shenfield to Heathrow line.

Ms Alexander, Sadiq Khan’s transport lead, said: “Clearly the priority is to get Crossrail finished. No one is going to want to have a situation where you’ve got a tunnel under London that’s 96 / 97 per cent complete, trains over at the depot at Old Oak Common and yet you have an inability to get those brand-new trains running through the tunnels.

“It was an obvious and sensible and reasonable thing to do to say, ’for a limited amount of time this is what we’ll do’.”

But asked by Liberal Democrat Caroline Pidgeon if the move would delay the building of Crossrail 2, Ms Alexander did not dismiss the premise but said a discussion with government about funding is needed.

She said: “I think it’s a strategically important project for the national economy so the discussion, alongside the mayor, I want to be having with government is how we can make this vital piece of infrastructure happen as soon as possible.”

Ms Alexander also highlighted that there are difficulties likely to arise in getting a bill through a parliament which is “paralysed by Brexit”, and said she thought it unlikely this could happen in 2019.

Conservative candidate for London Mayor Shaun Bailey told Construction News last month that he did not believe Mr Khan could get the next Crossrail signed-off during his current term of office.

A Department for Transport 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 continue to work with Transport for London to determine how to best deliver this project.”

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