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Crossrail facing another hurdle as MPs reveal £150m funding gap

The long-awaited but never-arrived Elizabeth line could be facing yet another delay, as MPs warned the cross-London railway was facing yet another funding shortfall of around £150m.
A Public Accounts Committee report has said that the estimated cost of completing the megaproject, also known as Crossrail, currently topped available funding by that amount.

The line, which will link Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east with Heathrow and Reading in the west, via a tunnel through the City and West End, was originally scheduled to open in 2018 and cost £14.8bn.

It is now earmarked to open in the first half of 2022 after several delays, with the costs blowing out to a current estimated £18.9bn.

The committee also said in the report that there were concerns over when and how Transport for London and the Greater London Authority would repay a Department for Transport loan issued for the project.

As the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns caused a collapse in fare revenue for TfL, the DfT extended £750m to the project, expecting it to be repaid from TfL’s own revenue.

But the transport authority is still facing a serious crunch in its finances as commuter travel in and around the capital remains depressed, and it has not been offered the same financial packages given to its privately-owned National Rail counterparts.

Crossrail began construction with piling at Canary Wharf in April 2009 and is currently the largest construction project in Europe, with TfL set to brand it the ‘Elizabeth line’ once it eventually begins operations.

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