Mayor and business leaders warn that transport settlement must be protected

Mayor Boris Johnson and dozens of key figures from across London’s business community today jointly

urged the new Government to ensure that vital investment in the capital’s transport system is protected.

The group, which had an open letter published in the Guardian today, includes City of London Policy Chairman Stuart Fraser, Jo Valentine, Chief Executive of London First, and Colin Stanbridge, Chief Executive of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry. They came together at City Hall to send a united message that building Crossrail, completing the modernisation of the Tube, and continuing investment in the bus network are vital to safeguard London’s future as a leading world city.

With London's population set to grow by 1.25 million over the next 20 years, significant transport improvements will be needed to avoid worsening travelling conditions in terms of reliability, journeys times, and crowding. Investment in transport is vital if London is to remain an attractive city to do business in, and is to continue to act as the engine of the UK economy, capable of leading the country out of the recession. The overall benefits of Crossrail are estimated to be up to £36 billion in current prices, and the Tube's modernisation will generate wider economic benefits for Britain in the order of £24 billion of additional GDP.

The call comes as the Mayor, following a period of consultation with business, public and other stakeholders, published his Transport Strategy. The document sets out his vision for transport in London over the next 20 years, and describes how Transport for London and its partners will deliver it.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said:

As we awake in a new political landscape a focus on value for money is inevitable and right, but it is essential that those who will lead the country through the next period realise the absolute necessity of maintaining investment in London, the very beating heart of the UK economy.

"Our transport network is the foundation upon which our city's success is built. Without Crossrail and the Tube upgrades, without the continued lifeblood of vital investment in all parts of the transport network, our city cannot go on developing and attracting the business and wealth that can lead the country out of recession. We have come together to send a clear message that London's transport settlement must be safeguarded, and that any erosion of it, any dimming of commitment, will be to the detriment of the country as a whole."

Stuart Fraser, Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee of the City of London Corporation, said:

 "It is essential - if London is to remain a competitive and successful world class city, providing the jobs and prosperity which its citizens deserve, that it has up to date, efficient and reliable public transport. The new government must retain the transport funding for the capital that is now in place. This will secure the upgrades to the Tube, the building of Crossrail - on time and on budget - and the other new lines, including the Overground, which will bring economic benefits to all Londoners.

"London can only run successfully if our infrastructure is kept up to scratch. At times of tight and difficult public spending decisions, it is essential that investment for the future is not abandoned to provide short term savings, which we will all only regret as soon as they are made. Capital spending has so often be the first target for cuts in the past: that must not happen this time."

Baroness Jo Valentine, Chief Executive of London First, said:

 “London's continued status as a magnet for global talent and a centre for world trade is critical to the UK's long term economic health. We must not restrict this great capital's ability to accommodate new jobs and a growing population by consigning millions each day to the cattle-class conditions of an overcrowded transport system. Crossrail and a modernised Tube will underpin London's ability to grow, and deliver substantial bang for buck at a time when all public spending must be judged against its wider economic value."

Colin Stanbridge, Chief Executive of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), said:

“From day one of the election campaign we have been calling on politicians of all stripes to make Crossrail and tube upgrades their top priorities for London.  Of course we are now living in more austere times but making London’s transport network fit for the 21st century will be a long term investment that will add billions to both the UK and the capital’s economy.”

The Mayor's Transport Strategy details a number of improvements planned for the transport system, including upgrades to the Tube, London Overground as well as planned investment in the overland rail network by Network Rail.

Despite ambitious investment plans to get the most out of our current transport infrastructure along with radical plans to get more people walking and cycling further investment is needed to increase capacity alongside the need to improve air quality and address the challenge of climate change.

Crossrail will be central to boosting capacity, with easterly and westerly extensions planned in the long-term. The feasibility of a number of enhancements to the transport network are being considered post 2020 including Crossrail 2, and a new river crossing.

The Mayor has already delivered Oyster pay as you go to all commuter National Rail services in Greater London and influenced improvements to the new South Central franchise. A key aim is to promote integrated, high-quality and good value rail services across London through the incorporation of TfL standards into new franchises, encouraging Train Operating Companies to deliver safer, more secure stations and achieve greater coordination of customer information between National Rail and TfL.

A range of improvements to road, river, buses, and the urban realm are also detailed, including proposals to boost low carbon technology and transport, and stimulate a cycling revolution in the capital. The Mayor has ambitious plans to make London the electric vehicle capital of Europe.

Some of the proposals detailed in the Mayor’s Transport Strategy will require further statutory consultation. The Mayor will shortly commence consultation on detailed proposals for the removal of the Western Extension of the Congestion Charge Zone, and on deferring Phase 3 of the Low Emission Zone, affecting larger vans and minibuses, to 2012. Both consultations will be formally launched later this month.

Source: ©Mayor of London

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