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Transport extensions and cycleways face axe due to TfL budget woes

Lee Baker
12 September 2016

All of TfL's capital projects are at risk in a root-and-branch review as the transport authority struggles with the removal of grant, rising costs and falling fare income, the London Assembly says.

TfL will publish a new business plan in December in which it sets out the implications of £900m of extra cost and £270m of lost income from the failure of a tube upgrade impact, a £700m cut to its revenue grant coming two years early, and the £660m cost of implementing commitments of the new Mayor of London to freeze fares and introduce a bus 'hopper' ticket. The cross-party London Assembly budget commtitee says in a new report it is most concerned about the impact on planned capital schemes including proposed new stations at Old Oak Common in west London, a tram extension to Sutton in south London, and £100m of cycling infrastructure.

The committee was not convinced that TfL's plans for £117m efficiencies could be achieved, branding a target to reduce agency staff by half "arbitrary and unsupported by evidence," and in any event insufficient to fill its budget blackhole, whilst its ability to increase its income "may be at odds with the Mayor's desire to maximise affordable housing on surplus TfL sites". It notes that investment is needed to sustain fare income, pointing to falling bus use as a case in point, and highlighting other cities where public transport use declined due to falling quality, and says concessionary fares schemes such as the 60+ Oyster card will cost more and more.

Gareth Bacon, chair of the committee, said: "Major capital investment in the transport network is needed to keep London moving as its population continues to grow but the funding to support this investment is now at risk."

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