The Thick of It


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cross River Tram

Boris Johnson doesn't think the Cross River Tram is worth investing in. Funding for any infrastructure projects won't be easy in the current financial climate. However, investing in the future will help London become more prosperous in the long term. London did this in the 1930s and for those of us who agree with Gordon Brown that doing so again, missing out on a project that had already been heavily invested in seems at best a waste and worst a missed opportunity.

Southwark Council has been vocal in opposition to Johnson's decision to scrap the project. Johnson come into office claiming to be a mayor who would listen to the boroughs rather than dictate to them as he claimed Ken Livingstone did. Southwark's Lib Dem leader Nick Stanton claims that Johnson failed to consult with his council when he planned to scrap it.

Stanton is seeking support from other affected councils. I don't expect the Department for Transport to provide capital funding without the crucial TfL contribution from the mayor, or private funding. I expect Stanton's worthy fight to fail because the mayor isn't interested.

Perhaps spending valuable funds on the unnecessary Boris Bus might have allowed the mayor to contribute to the Cross River Tram. However, he has shown little appetite for funding projects that benefit those who voted for Livingstone, as Southwark, Lambeth and Camden (the areas to benefit most from the scheme) all did.

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Colm said...

See also:

Anonymous said...

There was an awful lot of excitement over the scapping of CRT and the various other schemes. Truth was, there was no money in the TfL Business Plan for them. At the same time money was burnt every month designing unfunded schemes.

Realistically, the focus for London is Crossrail. £15bn of railway. That means other schemes get clobbered.

(And the UK Government is anti-Light Rail anyway....)

"Transport Insider"