Crossrail’s funding black hole rises to £150M - International Burch University
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Crossrail’s funding black hole rises to £150M

Crossrail needs to find at least £150M more in funding to finish the job, according to the project promoter’s latest cost estimates.

Figures released ahead of next week’s Elizabeth Line Committee meeting reveal that the Anticipated Final Crossrail Direct Cost (AFCDC) is £15.939bn, a £29M increase from the previous estimate.

The increase has been driven by “prolongation of a number of project workstreams, and also by a number of additional scope items identified by the project to be essential to achieving revenue service”.

The updated AFCDC is still within the maximum cost estimate which was revised last summer due to the estimated impact of Covid-19.

In August 2020, Crossrail bosses revealed that up to £1.1bn additional funding was needed to complete the new London railways line, after Covid-19 restrictions further delayed the project.

This replaced the £400M to £650M cost overrun announced in November 2019 and is in addition to the £2.15bn original funding top up agreed after Crossrail missed its 2018 opening date.

On 30 November 2020 a funding deal for £825M of the £1.1bn was reached. The Greater London Authority (GLA) will borrow the additional £825M which will be repaid using the Mayoral Community Infrastructure Levy and Business Rate supplement.

However, at a Budget and Performance Committee meeting in December, TfL commissioner Andy Byford said that there would be no further delays or cost overruns on Crossrail, but said that this was based on the project being given £1.1bn in funding.

He added that the £825M received would be a challenge and that there was an understanding with DfT that an additional £275M could potentially be required.

Concerns about a potential funding black hole were raised by London Assembly members earlier this year who encouraged project bosses to set a fixed final cost for the project.

Papers released ahead of next week’s meeting add: “The current Anticipated Final Crossrail Direct Cost (AFCDC) is £15,939M, a £29M increase from the prior period.

“The P50 AFCDC is currently £150M above the additional funding of £825M, which is an increase of £29M during the period. When the £825M additional funding was confirmed, the funding package was £91M lower than the P50 AFCDC at the time.”

It adds: “At higher level of probability, current estimates of up to £1.1bn additional funding are consistent with previous estimates.”

The papers add that “the schedule for completing Crossrail is under significant pressure but the publicised opening timeframe of ‘first half of 2022’ currently remains intact.”

In his latest update to the London Assembly, Crossrail chief executive Mark Wild added: “Crossrail remains on track to open the Elizabeth line in the first half of 2022.

“We are doing everything we can to complete the Elizabeth line as quickly as possible, but there are no shortcuts to delivering this hugely complex railway.”

A Crossrail spokesperson added: “Further to Crossrail’s cost estimates last summer showing that the project could need an extra £1.1bn for completion, additional funding of £825M was made available at the end of last year.

“While there is currently a gap between estimated costs and secured funding, the Crossrail team is working hard to manage costs and risks to deliver the railway within available funding.”

As revealed by NCE earlier this week an opening date for the Elizabeth line was included in a West London bus study carried out by TfL.

In the study, 14 May 2022 is earmarked as the current target date for the opening of the Elizabeth line.

However, a Crossrail spokesperson said that the date was an error and that the official opening window remains in place for the first half of next year.


Department of Civil Engineering