It has been hailed as the next major infrastructure project to keep London on the move – and now the Chancellor of the Exchequer is set to clear the way for Crossrail 2.
Traversing London from south west to north east, with a possible spur to Hackney, Crossrail 2 builds on the success of the first Crossrail route – now the Elizabeth line.
The signal was set to green when the Lord Adonis-led National Infrastructure Commission recommended Government support and backing – although such was the pressing nature of the need, it was almost a foregone a conclusion.
Lord Adonis said: “By 2030 London is likely to reach megacity status, with a population exceeding 10million. Even allowing for planned investment much of its transport network will be under severe pressure, and there is already an acute housing shortage.
“Faced with these challenges, a second Crossrail line, running south-west to north-east, is a priority for London and its region.”
Now Chancellor George Osborne is ready to unveil in his Budget on Wednesday, a tranche of cash to get the railway running.
There will be £80million to fund the development of these plans, and the Government will ask Transport for London to match that contribution with the aim of introducing a Crossrail 2 Bill in this Parliament.
Supporters of Crossrail 2 suggest that the new link would give London’s economy a multi-billion-pound boost, and support 200,000 new homes as well as 200,000 new jobs. Unlocking land for development – with its consequent boost in growth and housing – was seen as vital to the economic case for the scheme.
Crossrail 1 had shown that to assess such a major project on transport needs alone was to miss much of the point.
Chancellor George Osborne will say: “With the difficulties we see in the global economy, we’ve got to make Britain fit for the future.
“Now is the time us to make the bold decisions and the big investments that will help us to lead the world in infrastructure, and create jobs, push up living standards and boost our productivity for the next generation.
“We set up the National Infrastructure Commission to think for the long term, plan for the future and help us lead the world.
“I want to thank Lord Adonis and the National Infrastructure Commission for their excellent work in setting out the long term priorities for London and the Northern Powerhouse, which I am determined to deliver.”
Chair of the London Assembly transport committee Valerie Shawcross said: “If it is to be up and running by the early 2030’s, work needs to begin in earnest now. Crossrail 2 will be great for London but the Hybrid Bill and the environmental impact assessments must be completed as soon as possible.”