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London Assembly fears costs are putting Crossrail’s future at risk

PUBLISHED: 16:00 10 December 2009 | UPDATED: 15:22 05 October 2010

FEARS over the future of Crossrail funding are being investigated by the London Assembly in a bid to keep the massive project on track.’ Its future remains in the balance over financial uncertainty caused by the recession

By Mike Brooke

FEARS over the future of Crossrail funding are being investigated by the London Assembly in a bid to keep the massive project on track.’

Construction of the £16 billion super tube’ began in May at Canary Wharf in East London.

But the future of Britain’s biggest rail venture since the Channel Tunnel remains in the balance over financial uncertainty caused by the recession.

Crossrail now needs to justify’ its mammoth cost and demonstrate that now is the time to invest from limited public resources, says City Hall.

The Assembly’s transport committee is to look into how any risks to its funding are dealt with. The investigation includes a public hearing with Crossrail chiefs in January.

“London has waited a long time for the digging to finally begin,” said transport chair Caroline Pidgeon. “But starting such a large and expensive project when public finances are so tight inevitably carries some risks.

“We have to ensure construction stays on time and manage any perils along the way.”

Part of the argument for Crossrail is that the super tube’ linking Heathrow with Central London, Canary Wharf and the Home Counties will create thousands of jobs and provide a massive boost to the economy. It also plays a key role in the Mayor’s Transport Strategy, adding 10 per cent to London’s rail capacity and helping solve overcrowding and congestion.

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