TfL’s budget meeting has, as expected, canned the Greenwich Waterfront Transit and deferred the (rather expensive) Baker Street step-free access project. The spin is, as usual, so heavy in the air you can taste it:
Step change increase in investment to deliver major milestones for Tube upgrades, Crossrail, the East London Line, DLR and Cycle Hire scheme.
Transport for London (TfL) today announced a £9.2bn budget for 2009/2010 which will fund the delivery of a series of major transport improvements as part of its multi-billion pound Investment Programme.
Mayor Boris Johnson, who Chairs TfL, said: ‘We are committed to transforming our transport infrastructure, and are investing billions to create a network that Londoners will recognise as vastly improved from the one we have now.
It takes a while, but down a bit we find the bad news:
However, lower projections for future fare revenue caused by the deterioration in the wider economy and the drain on TfL’s resources caused by the collapse of Metronet means that some work planned for 2009/10 must be cancelled or deferred until a later date.
This means deferral of works at some Tube stations including the project to install step free access to the Circle and Metropolitan lines at Baker Street.
In addition, the Greenwich Waterfront Transit Scheme will be cancelled given the Mayor’s earlier decision not to proceed with the Thames Gateway Bridge.
I’m assuming that means the whole scheme is now gone – the original November plan said:
“Beyond the completion of the ELT 1a, ELT 1b and GWT 1 projects that are funded in the plan, no other further phases will be funded under the Plan. Some of these future phases (ELT2) were planned to support public transport services across Thames Gateway Bridge. TfL will undertake a wider review as part of the sub-regional analysis working with boroughs to assess the potential for further transit routes and opportunities for external funding.”
The GWT phase 1 was, in Boris’s own words, nothing to do with the bridge, it was entirely separate, and had got as far as a planning application a couple of months back, so this is Boris cutting back on his own cutbacks. There were plans to extend it across the bridge into the East London Transit system, but essentially it would work on its own, so scrapping it means that there are now no plans remaining to increase public transport provision in Thamesmead, one of the worst areas in London for public transport provision and access. Nice. Why does Boris hate you, Thamesmead? The consultation papers make it clear that the existing bus services are slow, congested and overcrowded. They’ll now remain slow, congested and overcrowded. ‘Vastly improved’, my arse, Boris.
Of course, TfL’s finances would be rather rosier without the credit crunch (but we can’t be beastly to the bankers, despite them causing it. We can’t raise their taxes to fill the hole because they might take their economy-wrecking skills elsewhere). We can’t take money from that Mr. Chavez in Venezuela, so that’s another £20m hole in the budget. We can’t possibly be beastly to 4×4 drivers and we’ve got to give the Boroughs their £30m WEZ pound of flesh. Finally, we’ve got to find money in the budget for the new Routemaster and debendification. It’s not surprising there’s no money left to actually build a fully consulted on, fully designed urban transport improvement scheme currently in the planning process that could start construction this year and would keep people in work during a period of rapidly rising unemployment, is there?
I remember Boris talking approvingly about depression era New Deal building projects. Hot air, one now concludes.
On Baker Street, TfL had already cut it back to ensure it was ready for the Olympics. Now they’ve cut it totally, so it won’t be ready for the Olympics. Follow that.
Update: D-Notice asks if this was ODA-funded? Apparently not – from the TWAO application:
…[T]he Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) has identified Baker Street as an important part of the public transport network that will serve the London 2012 Games. TfL and the ODA have agreed that providing SFA to the deep level lines at Baker Street (the Jubilee and Bakerloo Lines) is not practicable in the time available before the London 2012 Games. As part of the overall arrangements for delivering a package of transport measures to facilitate the London 2012 Games, it has been agreed with the ODA that LUL will seek to deliver SFA to the subsurface lines at Baker Street (i.e. the Metropolitan, Circle and Hammersmith & City lines) by September 2011.
2.3 The Baker Street SFA Project, as agreed with the ODA, is budgeted within the TfL Investment Programme.
2.4 The Finance Committee considered this proposal at its meeting on 10 July 2008 and approved it being recommended to the Board
In other words, it’s also Boris cutting back his own cutback, with the added spice that it reneges on an Olympic agreement with the ODA.
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