London’s Long-Delayed Crossrail Link Gets $1.1 Billion Lifeline
Railway trains MTR Corp. Ltd. franchise, sit at platforms at London Waterloo railway station. (Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg)

London’s Long-Delayed Crossrail Link Gets $1.1 Billion Lifeline

London’s Crossrail train line will get an 825 million-pound ($1.1 billion) loan to allow completion of the long-delayed project following a deal between the city’s mayor and the U.K. government.

The cash, to be borrowed by the Greater London Authority from the Department for Transport, will allow completion of the final section of the line under the center of the capital, Transport for London said in a statement Tuesday.

The funds come on top of an earlier 2.15 billion-pound top-up package and are intended to get the link up and running in the first half of 2022, 3 1/2 years late. They’ll be repaid from business rates and a mayoral infrastructure levy.

“The government have insisted London must pay the shortfall, despite the overwhelming majority of the tax income that will result from Crossrail going to the Treasury,” Mayor Sadiq Khan said. “I do not want this project to be stalled so it is vital that we dig deep.”

Crossrail has missed multiple deadlines amid engineering delays, becoming embroiled in a wider political tussle between Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who says TfL is inefficient and needs reforming, and Labour’s Khan, who wants extra cash without an erosion of his control of public transport.

The new route, to be known as the Elizabeth Line after the current British queen, will be run by MTR Corp. and provide the first east-west heavy railway across the U.K. capital. It’s aimed at boosting passenger capacity 10% and linking the Thames valley and Essex via Heathrow airport, the West End shopping district and the City and Canary Wharf financial centers.

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