Long-delayed Crossrail project receives an extra £825m in funding
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London’s Crossrail project, which will eventually run east to west connecting London’s Canary Wharf financial district with Heathrow Airport, is to be given nearly £1bn in additional funding by the UK government in order to get the project completed.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps announced on Twitter that the government would give an additional £825m loan to Crossrail to “get the project up and running”.
First approved in 2007, the Crossrail project has faced multiple delays and its budget has spiralled from initial estimates of £14.8bn to £18.7bn as of August 2020.
In January, Crossrail's chief executive said that the first trains would not begin running until summer 2021, despite earlier pledges made to launch the project this year.
The Elizabeth Line, which will be Crossrail’s major addition to the tube network, is now not expected to open until the first half of 2022.
Writing on Twitter, Shapps described the new loan as “a fair deal for taxpayers across the UK”. The money will help to address a shortfall in Crossrail's funding after the government had already provided a £2.15bn financing package for the project in 2018.
Since the advent of the coronavirus pandemic, Transport for London’s finances have been hammered by vast reductions in public transport usage, which has led to them requesting a government bailout of £1.8bn in additional funds.
Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, said: “Securing this financing package enables us to press full steam ahead with getting the central section of the Elizabeth Line open as soon as possible.
“The government have insisted London must pay the shortfall – despite the overwhelming majority of the tax income that will result from Crossrail going to the Treasury. This is another example of London supporting the country way over and above the help we get from this government.
“I do not want this project to be stalled, so it is vital that we dig deep to get the railway up and running. I will continue to monitor progress closely and do everything I can to minimise costs, helping ensure London and beyond can enjoy its many benefits sooner rather than later.”
Last month, the National Skills Academy for Rail warned that the UK rail sector was badly lacking the skills it needed to complete major infrastructure projects.
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