Senior figures at some of the UK’s largest construction firms have put their names to a letter urging the government to make delivering Crossrail 2 a priority.
Laing O’Rourke chief executive Ray O’Rourke and bosses from Aecom, Arup, the Canary Wharf Group and Taylor Woodrow were among 70 business leaders to sign the letter to transport secretary Chris Grayling.
The letter warned that overcrowding on the rail network was stunting growth across the nation and that bottlenecks at stations were already intolerable for commuters.
It said a commitment from ministers would show the world that the UK was open for business despite its looming exit from the European Union.
The letter comes as the transport secretary reviews a business case and funding plan put forward by the mayor of London’s office. Mr Grayling is expected to make a decision on extra funding in the spring.
Last March chancellor George Osborne pledged £80m to development to help bring forward the construction of Crossrail 2, with the aim of getting a hybrid bill passed within the current parliament.
Transport for London agreed to match the government’s funding commitment.
London mayor Sadiq Khan said Crossrail 2 would bring thousands of jobs and housing to the capital as well as transport benefits across the South-east.
He added: “Despite the project benefiting the whole of the UK, London has actually met half the funding cost.
“What we now need is for the government to take note of these benefits and give us the green light to progress, for the good of the entire country.”
Last month the mayor warned that the capital would face “rush hour meltdown” if the government did not fund the new line.
The proposals would connect National Rail networks in Surrey and Hertfordshire with an underground tunnel beneath central London between Wimbledon, Tottenham Hale and New Southgate.
In total, it is expected to support some 200,000 new homes and 200,000 jobs, as well as generating 60,000 supply chain jobs and 18,000 apprenticeship opportunities.
The letter said that the new line would support and advance the UK’s engineering, construction and manufacturing sectors, thus boosting the West Midlands economy by £1bn, Yorkshire and Humber by £900m and the North-west by £750m.
Today, we urge government to enable rapid progress towards the construction of Crossrail 2, an infrastructure project of national importance.
Crossrail 2 will make a difference to the whole country. Forty per cent of transport benefits will be outside London.
Thirty per cent of the housing will be outside of London. Sixty thousand supply chain jobs and apprenticeships will be created across the UK. It will grow the national economy by up to £150bn.
London is already committed to meeting half the cost.
This will ease overcrowding on key rail lines from Portsmouth to Cambridge and will link with High Speed 2 at Euston.
This will transform journey times and connectivity from the Solent to the Wash, supporting 200,000 new homes and 200,000 jobs.
An already overcrowded regional transport network struggles to get people to work and fails to link them to accessible housing, threatening to stunt growth across the entire nation.
Serious bottlenecks at nationally significant stations like Clapham Junction and Waterloo are already intolerable and, without Crossrail 2, the journey time benefits from HS2 will be lost in queueing at Euston.
We need to get people to work. Now is the moment for government to find the parliamentary time and show the world UK is open for business post-Brexit.
(Construction signatories only)
Alasdair Reisner, chief executive, Civil Engineering Contractors Association
Sir George Iacobescu, chairman and chief executive, Canary Wharf Group
Julian Gatward, managing director, Taylor Woodrow
Ray O’Rourke, chairman and chief executive, Laing O’Rourke
Richard Robinson, chief executive civil infrastructure, Aecom
Caroline Artis, senior partner London, EY
Matthew Riley, managing director, Ramboll UK
Richard Foley, senior partner, Pinsent Masons
Graham Sant, managing director (infrastructure), Capita Real Estate and Infrastructure
David Whittleton, deputy chairman, Arup