Government calls for 'renewed focus' on unlocking developer funding for rail schemes

The government has said it wants to see a 'renewed focus on unlocking funding from developers and other potential beneficiaries' to build new rail links, as part of its 'strategic vision' for rail transport published today.

Rail: government's strategy document published
Rail: government's strategy document published

The document says that, as well as investing in the existing network, "we have to invest to develop the projects of the future, finding the best ways to expand services and offer new and better opportunities for people and communities, and offer great value for money for the taxpayer."

It says that rail services "have the potential to unlock housing growth, as part of a wider transport network".

The document says that the "challenge to our partners is to work with government and the industry to develop compelling proposals for the next generation of rail schemes, identifying the places where rail is the right answer for local transport needs and finding the places where rail schemes fit best with housing strategies".

Stressing the need to lever in money from "a more diverse range of parties", the document says that "government wants to see a renewed focus on unlocking funding from developers and other potential beneficiaries".

It cites the construction of a new rail station at London’s Barking Riverside development and the extension of the existing Gospel Oak to Barking rail line to the site as an example of how a project can attract significant private investment. It notes that £172 million of the £263 million cost of the extension is being met by developers Barking Riverside Ltd.

The document says that the government recognises that it can be "challenging to make a case for transport projects that are intended to create new journeys or enable new housing developments compared to projects where very high passenger demand already exists and where the national economic benefits may well be higher".

To address this, the document says that the government wants to ensure that the full range of contributions that specific schemes can make to society and the economy is considered. "From promoters, we therefore need to see a clear strategic focus and good evidence about the opportunities being created and the benefits delivered."

The strategy says that the government is developing guidance for investors and developers to ensure that the process for taking forward proposals and engaging with government is "as clear and transparent as possible".

Connecting People: A Srategic Vision for Rail can be read here. 


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