Crossrail 2: Major new review brings it closer
The planned timeline for Crossrail 2 could be pushed off track by a fresh funding hurdle as the Department for Transport (DfT) plans an independent financing review for the £31bn project.
The government came back to the revised funding case saying that they “want an independent financial review to look at whether or not they can reduce the costs and how viable what's proposed is. So, it seems to be a long, slow process, but it's still moving in the right direction”.
TfL and the DfT announced in March in light of the governments statement that they have started an Independent Affordability Review to examine how costs could be reduced further for this scheme. The review will submit an interim report to the DfT and TfL this summer, outlining options as to how the project could be made more affordable. A more detailed final report will be submitted at a later date in light of the recommendations made in the interim report.
Crossrail 2 managing director Michele Dix has said she wants to get the hybrid bill submitted in the early part of 2020, with timing viewed as crucial to ensuring construction gets underway to tie in with HS2’s arrival at Euston, in order to prepare for the expected surge in passengers that will bring.
Sadiq Khan, has stated that he is “I’m pleased that the Government has reaffirmed its commitment to Crossrail 2 and am happy to endorse Mike Gerrard as the chair of the Independent Affordability Review. Only through Crossrail 2 can we ensure our future transport network is fit for purpose and provide a huge boost to the UK’s economy with hundreds of thousands of much-needed jobs and homes”.
The plan had been to get a public consultation underway early this year, but the Department for Transport will only consider a public consultation after the independent review has deemed the funding plans a success. Transport secretary Chris Grayling has said the public needs to get "an affordable scheme that is fair to the UK taxpayer".
The independent review is now not expected until the autumn this year, further pressure is being put on the wider timescale to submit a hybrid bill to parliament in 2020.
Darren Caplan, chief executive of the Railway Industry Association, said: "The Railway Industry Association urges the financial review of Crossrail 2 to be undertaken as swiftly as possible, so the project can proceed as planned on the timescale originally envisaged. Without doing so, it will be more difficult to integrate Crossrail 2 with other major infrastructure investments like HS2 - meaning we are less able to reduce congestion for passengers on our rail network."