Commenting on the revelation of a possible £2billion shortfall in the plans to upgrade three key tube lines Caroline Pidgeon, the transport spokesperson for the Liberal Democrat Group at the London Assembly, says: “This possible 'black hole' is something that can be laid directly at the feet of Gordon Brown.
“He was the Chancellor of the Exchequer who pushed through the ill-fated PPP project for London's Underground and that project has now cost London's hard pressed traveling public billions of pounds.
“Gordon Brown assured Londoners the PPP method of funding the tube was the only way in which upgrades and refurbishments could be provided. And yet we’re still waiting for them.”
A discrepancy of £2billion has emerged between the total amount Tube Lines, the private sector consortium, estimates it will have to spend by 2017 and the amount the independent regulator believes is needed.
In an official report Chris Bolt, the PPP arbiter, has today said total costs for the upgrading the Northern, Jubilee and Piccadilly lines should be no more than £5.1billion to £5.5billion. The Tube Lines consortium says it needs to spend £7.2billion.
Worryingly, this funding gap echoes the £2 billion gulf which led to the collapse of Metronet. Caroline says: “Tube Lines have assured us there’s no prospect of a Metronet-style catastrophe but why is it that a financial policy which was sold to Londoners as their best option, is once again so spectacularly failing them?”