TfL: Old Oak Common Elizabeth line service and Bakerloo line extension at risk if no long-term funding agreed
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An effective Elizabeth line service ferrying commuters into London from Old Oak Common is among the projects at-risk if Transport for London (TfL) does not receive a long-term funding deal from Government, a London Assembly Committee has been told.
While TfL has received several rounds of support in the last few years, especially during the pandemic, the lack of a long-term deal means it is “pretty much the only transport authority in the country without long-term funding certainty”, Patrick Doig, TfL’s chief finance officer, said this week.
Old Oak Common will be London’s gateway station for HS2, after the government announced it was deferring the link to Euston. Another project at risk, according to council papers, is the long-mooted Bakerloo line extension.
Mr Doig was speaking to the assembly’s budget and performance committee about TfL’s capital budget for 2023/24. He said that while TfL is expected to generate an operating surplus for the coming year, it is impossible to cover the enhancements and major projects London’s infrastructure requires, something the Government has “consistently recognised” in recent settlements.
However, he added the transport authority has yet to receive a funding deal which lasts longer than 19 months, with the lack of long-term financial certainty “our most significant risk”.
“If we get towards the autumn without having clarity on our funding position next year, we’ll have to start to take some actions this year to slow down investment or to potentially defer some investment to make sure that we can manage within our overall funding,” he said.
Noting some of the renewals and enhancements in the network’s pipeline have already had to be delayed, Mr Doig also referenced the impact on future services if further funding is not secured.
For example, he said TfL is making the case to the Government that more Elizabeth line trains will be required to service Old Oak Common when it opens in the early 2030s, due to, for a few years at least, it being the terminus for those travelling into London via HS2.
“The critical thing is, even though this is an issue at the end of this decade, we need to make a decision pretty quickly to order some rolling stock,” he said, demonstrating one of the challenges of “having to make long-term decisions, without having long-term funding certainty”.
In TfL’s budget release in March, it was noted long-term Government funding will also be required to re-start major projects such as the Bakerloo line extension and Crossrail 2.
“These were stopped at the onset of the pandemic, and restarting this work would provide a further vote of confidence and ensure that these critical projects that can progress within the next decade, which would enable hundreds of thousands of new homes and substantial economic opportunity across London and the wider UK,” the report said.
LondonWorld recently reported that a piece of work connected with the Bakerloo line extension has begun, though additional funding is required “so the project can be delivered in the future”.
A Government spokesperson said: “We have provided TfL with £6bn in funding support to keep public transport moving, as well as £2bn towards vehicle grants and infrastructure to support the rollout of clean vehicles across the country.
“More specifically, London has received almost £102m of Government funding for projects specifically targeted at helping to tackle pollution.
“Decisions on how to allocate funding to best meet the city’s transport priorities are for the Mayor of London to make.”