Cable car 'may be taxpayer funded'

By Rob Virtue on June 16, 2011 10:27 AM |

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Boris Johnson has admitted public funds could be used on the planned cable car linking the Excel to The O2.

The London Mayor has always said the river crossing would be paid for by private finance. However, this week he backtracked and said he could not 'guarantee' it would be fully paid for by the private sector.

London Assembly' member for City and East John Biggs slammed the mayor on the announcement, made at the Mayor's question time in City Hall, that he could dip into public funds for the scheme.

"While I am sure many East Enders will enjoy the cable car and it will improve connections it doesn't seriously meet the demand for river crossings," he said.

"We urgently need a new road bridge or tunnel to complement the rail links recently built. And it was a very different proposition when it wasn't going to cost anything - spending money on this will mean less cash for other worthwhile projects."

Mr Biggs added the cable car scheme was "for tourists" and "not a serious transport project".

The cable car will cost an estimated £56.9million to set up. In July last year, the Mayor said he was in discussions with a "number of private sector organisations that have expressed interest in the project".

Transport for London has already spent £2.9m on the project.

The crossing may also not be ready for the 2012 Olympics, the Mayor admitted last month.