London’s Crossrail gets £350m bailout as costs soar

The UK government has announced a £350m bailout for the £15bn Crossrail project after builders revealed in August that its opening would be put back from December 2018 to the autumn of 2019.

The money has been made available as a loan to the Greater London Authority, which is bearing the brunt of the project’s £600m cost overrun, as well as £20m in missed fare revenue.

The bailout was announced by rail minister Jo Johnson, who said: "Today, as an interim measure, we are announcing that £350m of short term repayable financing will be made available to the mayor for the year 2018/19. This will ensure that full momentum is maintained behind Crossrail."

The route of the new system

The decision was criticised by Caroline Pidgeon, the chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee, who called the loan "a sticking plaster". She said: "Londoners need to know what work is left to open the line, how much this will cost and ultimately who will pick up the tab."

The 117km line will run through east to west London, improving access to Heathrow Airport, and extending underground transport to districts of the capital that had previously relied on increasingly congested overground and bus services.

An independent review of Crossrail’s governance and a separate review on finance have also been commissioned.

Top image: Crossrail has been billed as Europe’s biggest infrastructure project (Crossrail)

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