Massive transport investment plan revealed

But no money at this stage for West London Tram

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The Mayor has announced a £10 billion programme which he is describing as the biggest investment in the transport infrastructure since the Second World War.

Due to a five-year funding deal with the Government, several major transport initiatives are now almost certain to go ahead - with some due for completion as early as 2009. The projects will be funded by £3 billion in new borrowing, £4 billion from PPP contracts and £3 billion from government grants and the recent fare rises on public transport.

Key parts of the plan include a new Thames Road Bridge and extensions to the London Underground and Docklands Light Railway lines. Some tube lines are also going to have air-conditioning installed. These will include the District, Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines.

The new Thames road bridge which will link Greenwich and Newham will be the first new bridge over the river in 70 years. The East London line and DLR will be extended as part of the bid to bring the Olympics to London in 2012. The Metropolitan line is to be extended to Watford Junction to link with the national rail network. A London-wide low emission zone to restrict emissions from lorries (over 3.5 tonnes), buses, coaches and taxis is planned for 2007.

The £10 billion does not include the cost of Crossrail which will link East and West London.

Speculation is growing that the West London Tram may be ditched. The controversial scheme is not being funded in this plan although Transport for London say in the report that they will seek additional funding. The scheme, which would have cost £650 million, met with heavy opposition and early indications are that the response to the consultation showed the majority of people to be against the plan which would have diverted traffic onto residential streets.

Cllr Gary Malcolm, Lib Dem Transport spokesperson, said: “It appears that Ken Livingstone may have had a sneaky look at the consultation findings before they have been collated. Liberal Democrats and many residents hope that he shelves his tram plans.”

Ken Livingstone said that the plans were a chance to reverse decades of under-funding. "It marks an end to stop-start funding for London's transport," he said. "Whether you walk, cycle or travel by bus or Tube, over the next five years your journey should become safer, more reliable and more comfortable."

Transport minister Tony McNulty welcomed the plans, hailing them as "a real step-change" in the capital's network. "Today's announcement should particularly give Londoners real confidence to put their energy behind the Olympic bid," he said.

However, there is increasing concern that investment over the next decade will be skewed towards the east of the city with little attempt made to tackle the growing problem with congestion and pollution in the West and South West of the capital. The only major scheme in the plan for West London is the extension of the Congestion Charge Zone.

October 13, 2004