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PPP arbiter calls in London Underground to explain Victoria costs

The Public Private Partnership Arbiter has called in London Underground to explain new cost information unearthed by contractor Tube Lines as the tube upgrade funding dispute continues.

Last week Tube Lines, which is responsible for work on the Jubilee, Piccadilly and Northern lines, revealed findings from a Freedom of Information request that show London Underground’s costs for the Victoria Line upgrade are double that of Tube Lines’ proposed spend on the upcoming Northern Line upgrade.

The new information is thought to show that the Victoria Line upgrade is costing about £20 million per km, compared with the £10 million per km Tube Lines’ has estimated for the Northern Line.

These figures are different to those used by Chris Bolt, the PPP Arbiter, to determine how much Tube Lines can spend in the next control period, which runs from 2011 until 2017.

Mr Bolt told The Times: “We have seen it [the new data], and have asked London Underground to explain how the information released to Tube Lines relates to that provided to the Arbiter.

“The information is presented on a different price base and broken down in a different way. On the face of it, Tube Lines may be right and London Underground’s costs may be higher.”

Tube Lines wants £5.75 billion to complete work, including major upgrades on the Northern Line, from 2010 to 2017 but Mr. Bolt’s draft determination released on 17 December 2009 recommended only £4.4bn whilst London Underground only wants to pay £4 billion.