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Last Updated: Monday, 19 July, 2004, 21:34 GMT 22:34 UK
Government backs 10bn Crossrail
Computer image of a Crossrail train
The rail route is a top priority of London Mayor Ken Livingstone
The go-ahead for the long-awaited 10bn Crossrail scheme which will link the east and west of London, is expected to be given on Tuesday.

Transport Secretary Alistair Darling is to reveal plans for a bill which will allow the scheme to take off, as part of plans for UK transport systems.

But the rail link will not be ready for the Olympics in 2012, a Crossrail spokesman said.

Both private and public money will be used to fund the scheme.

Click here to see a map of the route

The rail link will run through tunnels in central London stopping at key Tube stations such as Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road and Liverpool Street.

Discussions about how much funding will come from taxpayers are thought to be ongoing.

The government will need to create a hybrid bill for the scheme, combining both a public and a private bill, in other words it mixes legislation applying equally to a group of people with legislation applying to specific individuals or companies.

The scheme has long been a top priority of London Mayor Ken Livingstone.

Earlier this month Mr Livingstone set out his plan for the way the city's transport system should look by 2016, with Crossrail at the top of the list.

He said the project would increase rail capacity in London by a fifth.


The Crossrail spokesman said on Monday: "If we are going to get an announcement tomorrow, then it's really good news."

"The idea of a cross-London rail link has been kicking around for decades.

"We will need to carry out more work before a hybrid Bill can start going through Parliament and the scheme would not be ready before 2013 at the earliest."

But Lynne Featherstone, the Liberal Democrat's spokesman for transport on the London Assembly, said the announcement still failed to say who would cover the cost of the project.

Last time a Crossrail Hybrid Bill was introduced to the Commons in 1991, the whole project was delayed, and then eventually ditched by MPs three years later
Lynne Featherstone,
Lib Dems, London Assembly
She said: "Last time a Crossrail Hybrid Bill was introduced to the Commons in 1991, the whole project was delayed, and then eventually ditched by MPs three years later.

"The Montague Report into the feasibility of Crossrail is five months late. The final routes on offer are still unannounced, and the timetable for the hybrid Bill is still unclear.

"This may be the first hesitant step towards Crossrail, but there are still many hurdles to jump."

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Crossrail route

The BBC's Simon Montague
"Crossrail's had the green light before and hit red soon after"

On track for Olympic bid?
19 Jul 04  |  London
Brown 'to tighten spending plans'
12 Jul 04  |  Business
Blair gives Crossrail backing
29 Oct 03  |  London
Crossrail given green light
14 Jul 03  |  London

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