Transport for London has secured a £1 billion loan with the European Investment Bank to finance part of its contribution to the £16 billion Crossrail project.
The capital’s transport body has hailed the loan facility as international recognition of Crossrail’s importance and as a milestone in the delivery of the project.
Together with the Greater London Authority, TfL is responsible for £7.7bn of Crossrail’s £15.9 billion funding. Of that £2.4 billion will be funded from TfL borrowing linked to future Crossrail fares revenue.
TfL currently has two corporate loan agreements already in place with the EIB.
In December 2005 it agreed a £450 million loan agreed to finance the East London Line Extension and it also agreed a £200 million loan in March 2007 to finance part of the Docklands Light Railway 3-car capacity upgrade and Stratford International Extension.
When Crossrail opens in 2017 its high capacity and high frequency trains will increase London’s rail capacity by 10 per cent.
The project will employ 14,000 people at its peak and support 7,000 further jobs linked to the project, providing a crucial boost to London and the UK’s economy.
The first construction work for Crossrail began on 15 May at Canary Wharf. Demolition works are continuing at Tottenham Court Road to enable a major redevelopment of the station and tunnel boring machines will be launched in 2011.
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “Our good friends at the EIB have provided us with a billion more reasons to proceed with the unstoppable force that is Crossrail.
“It is one of the largest loans ever secured for a transport project and I am especially pleased to have this backing for our drive to provide London with the facilities required to keep the capital one of the world’s leading cities.”