TPA release measures which could save the Crossrail 2 project £11 billion
The report suggests that there are separate, smaller projects which could deliver some of Crossrail 2’s objectives at better value for money.
The TaxPayers’ Alliance are publishing a new report on the cost of Crossrail 2, and how some key strategic improvements could provide better value for money for passengers and taxpayers. The expected cost for the project has increased from £5.3 billion (or £7.7 billion in 2019-20 prices) in 2000 to £32.6 billion (or £35.6 billion in 2019-20 prices) in 2016. The financial strength of the project’s primary sponsor, Transport for London (TfL), has deteriorated due a fares freeze policy, the withdrawal of the grant from central government, weaker growth in passenger demand and the failure of Crossrail 1 to stay within budget and on time.
Reintroducing fares escalation could transfer 20 per cent of the capital costs from taxpayers to passengers, improving viability. Implementing a Crossrail 2 fares premium and an exemption from concessionary fares could transfer a similar share of funding to passengers. As things stand, taxpayers will finance the cost of the entire project, so the TPA’s new report looks also into how this bill can be reduced.
This report has found that £11 billion could be saved with five cost reduction measures:
- Cancelling the New Southgate spur could save £5.1 billion.
- Rerouting the section between Dalston and Victoria via Clerkenwell instead of Euston St Pancras could save £1.4 billion. Alternatives via Farringdon or City Thameslink are also presented.
- Removing the station at Chelsea and rerouting directly between Clapham Junction and Victoria could save £1 billion and offer improved transport benefits.
- Rerouting the section between Wimbledon and Clapham Junction directly via Earlsfield instead of Balham could save £2.3 billion and improve journeys.
- Building Wimbledon station above ground, reallocating existing platforms and tracks to Crossrail 2 (and tunnelling those instead) could save £1.3 billion.
The report also proposes several separate, smaller projects could deliver some of Crossrail 2’s objectives at better value for money:
- Extending the DLR from Bank to Euston via Holborn.
- A new metro line from Fulham to Canary Wharf via Chelsea and Waterloo.
- A new metro line extending national rail services into Fenchurch Street via Cannon Street and then existing railway infrastructure from Elephant & Castle to Herne Hill.
- A Crossrail 2 spur from Angel Road to Gordon Hill via Edmonton Green and Enfield Town, largely using existing infrastructure.
- A new express line between Kentish Town and Canary Wharf via Liverpool Street.
- A short ‘Crossrail 3’ between Victoria and Euston via Tottenham Court Road.
Commenting on the report, John O’Connell, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Crossrail 2 is an enormous infrastructure project but flaws in the consultation process have led to an excessively complicated and expensive scheme. TfL should reconsider Crossrail 2’s scope and systematically assess whether particular elements not only fit the objectives but also whether alternatives might meet those objectives at better value for money. Affordability of the project is the primary concern so TfL must reassess every item with a view to removing all unnecessary costs.”