Keith Prince AM: Mayor must get Crossrail back on track
When Sadiq Khan inherited the Crossrail project, it was on time and budget. Now no one knows when it will be delivered and what the final bill will be.
The Elizabeth Line, when complete, will stretch from Reading and Heathrow to Abbey Wood and Shenfield. It is a vital infrastructure project which promises to support 300,000 new jobs and 180,000 new homes by 2026.
For Havering and Redbridge, the Elizabeth Line will connect the two boroughs with central and east London, expand our public transport capacity, and bring new jobs and homes to our part of Greater London.
So what went wrong? Sadiq Khan took his eye off the ball. The central London section of the line was due to open in December 2018, but just months before it was revealed the line was nowhere near ready. The fact the Mayor was surprised by this revelation and claimed not to know about Crossrail's poor progress shows his negligence.
The next opening date was set to be summer 2021, more than three years late and £3.4 billion over budget. That's not to mention the £1.35 billion Transport for London has lost in fare revenue from the delay or London's lost economic growth. However, the coronavirus has thrown the project off course again.
It's now expected a further delay will happen and another bailout will be needed. Not only will this postpone the jobs and homes the project promises right at the moment we need them most, but Londoners will have to pick up the bill for another delay.
If Sadiq Khan had taken responsibility for the delivery of Crossrail when he became Mayor, we could have avoided this situation. The Mayor needs to do his job and get Crossrail back on track once and for all.
Article by Keith Prince AM first published in the Romford Recorder.