Credit crunch will not stop Crossrail
FEARS that the £16billion Crossrail project is at risk of being derailed by the credit crunch have been allayed after a massive cash boost. BAA, the Heathrow Airport operator, had pledged £230million to the scheme which will connect Maidenhead in Berkshir
FEARS that the £16billion Crossrail project is at risk of being derailed by the credit crunch have been allayed after a massive cash boost.
BAA, the Heathrow Airport operator, had pledged £230million to the scheme which will connect Maidenhead in Berkshire to Shenfield in Essex via Paddington.
Previous to the announcement, rumours were abound that the Crossrail team had secretly scaled back their plans due to the economic downturn. And last week it was reported that City firms were struggling to raise the £3.5billion they had committed to the scheme.
But the £230million contribution appears to have secured Crossrail's future and news of the windfall has been widely welcomed by business leaders in Westminster.
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Kay Buxton, chief executive of the Paddington Waterside Partnership, said: "This announcement is great news. BAA's signing of the funding agreement marks the first confirmed private sector deal for Crossrail, providing certainty that Crossrail will be delivered.
"If disruption is minimised and benefit is maximised, Paddington stands to gain an enormous amount from Crossrail, connected not just to Heathrow but now to Canary Wharf."
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The project, which is expected to create up to 30,000 jobs, received the Parliamentary go-ahead in July and work is planned to start in 2010. The new rail route will run direct services from Heathrow through central London, the City and Canary Wharf.
New stations will be built in Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Liverpool Street, Whitechapel and the Isle of Dogs.
Transport Minister Lord Andrew Adonis joined BAA strategy director Mike Forster at Paddington Station on Tuesday to announce the deal. Lord Adonis said: "Crossrail will definitely go ahead and the announcement of £230million from BAA further underpins the credibility of the project and ensures that the work will proceed from 2010 so that it could be open in 2017.