Mayor reveals capital transport outlay

A £10 billion five-year investment programme to modernise the capital's transport system was unveiled by London mayor Ken Livingstone this week.

The mayor is taking advantage of "unprecedented" permission from the Treasury allowing him to borrow from capital markets for the first time. This will enable him to set large-scale schemes in motion, according to Transport for London (TfL).

The investment programme, which is subject to approval by the TfL board, pulls together an existing £4 billion earmarked for the Underground network from public-private partnerships and private finance initiatives, £3 billion from borrowing and £3 billion from TfL's core budget.

But TfL warns that bus and Underground fares could rise above inflation during this period to service the debt on borrowing. Earlier this month, Livingstone announced that bus fares will increase by 20 per cent in 2005 (Planning, 1 October, p6). But this week he admitted that a 34 per cent rise over the next three years is more probable.

Pledging to reverse under-investment across the network, Livingstone insisted: "This programme will deliver real improvements in services and capacity to keep London on the move."

He promised to complete major projects such as the Thames Gateway Bridge, the East London Line extension and the Docklands Light Railway extension.

Crossrail is not included in the programme, but the TfL spokesman said the link could proceed sooner than expected.

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