London Mayor hits out over road funding

January 10 2018   | Region: London

London Mayor hits out over road funding
Central Government will be “punishing” Londoners by not allocating a fair share of revenue to the capital city from the new National Road Fund from 2020, the London Mayor said yesterday.
 
Sadiq Khan, addressing a meeting of the London Assembly’s budget and performance committee, also described the “perverse situation” where car drivers in the capital will be “subsidising the maintenance of roads outside of London”.
 
As a consequence of Government policies he said there is likely to be less money available to spend on road maintenance activity in the capital.
 
“London will not receive any of the allocation from the new Roads Fund, yet £500M raised from Vehicle Excise Duty is paid for by Londoners,” the Mayor said. “The operating cost of London’s roads is currently £200M a year and the renewal of roads is being cross subsidised by public transport users. That cannot be right.
 
“We will continue to lobby the Treasury to ensure that we get the money we need,” he added.
 
A Treasury spokesman said: “London has received more than £10Bn in Government transport funding since 2010 to help improve journeys, and the Government has supported projects such as Crossrail and the Lower Thames Crossing to transform the capital’s infrastructure.

“Transport for London will now receive more than £800M per year from its new powers to retain business rates. It is up to the Mayor to decide how this money is spent on London’s transport.”
 
The Mayor went on to says the removal of £700M a year of Government funding to Transport for London from 2018/19 will make it “tough” for the authority. “We will be the only major public transport body in Europe not subsidised by central Government; it’s just astonishing.” But he predicted that savings made such as the sale of TfL property will help the authority to move “from deficit to break even, to surplus”.
 
He acknowledged that a slight fall in recent passenger numbers on the Underground has had an impact on revenues, but predicted that the number of leisure users – some of whom have stayed away following recent terror attacks – should grow again. He added that the opening of the central part of the Elizabeth line this year will help to increase footfall.
 
Committee member Caroline Pidgeon asked that Mayor what effect changing lifestyles may have on the number of passengers in London using public transport in the future.
 
“People’s lifestyles are changing (with some) working from home or watching the Crown on Netflix rather than going to the cinema,” the Mayor said. “But we are also encouraging people to walk and cycle, even though you could argue that doesn’t make business sense.”
 
(Photo: Maciek Lulko and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence)

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