To see the May 2011 budget where the estimated final cost of the final tranche of Cycle Superhighways is £142m, click here (p13). To see the September 2011 budget where the final cost is £106m, click here (p11).
The budget allocation in September 2010 was £145m.
What is going on at TfL?
Transport for London have this quarter decided to embark on a £5m project to “commence investigation” of rebuilding the A4 Hammersmith Flyover, minutes from Thursday’s Finance and Policy meeting reveal. This project was not in the March 2011 Business Plan, and no money has been set aside for it.
TfL estimate the final cost of this project will be £60m. They have so far found £100k from the funding stream for maintaining the road network. The remaining £59,900,000 “is unbudgeted and the funding sources are being explored”.
Transport for London have also managed to award over-budget funding to a number of projects in the last quarter.
This includes the controversial Henley’s Corner scheme, which has ballooned in projected cost from £8m to £9m in the last three months.
Impressively, despite all this, we are informed in the Q1 Operational and Financial Report that for this quarter TfL have actually come in under budget. How have they achieved this feat?
This is due to re-phasing of expenditure on Cycle Hire, Countdown II, Cycle Superhighways and Better Routes and Places schemes. (p11)
For those not steeped in TfL vernacular, Better Routes and Places is the current name for the directorate which funds the Biking Boroughs, cycling and walking Greenways and various walking events and streetscape improvements.
Just to confirm for anyone who is unsure about these numbers – and that included me because I couldn’t quite believe the amount of money disappearing here – this really is happening and it’s reflected in a number of Transport for London’s documents.
In the Project Approvals list of May 2011, the Estimated Final Cost of the Tranche 2 Cycle Superhighway Routes was £142.4m. Now it is £105.7m.
These projects need the money that they have been allocated. In May 2011, the project to build the first two Cycle Superhighways was closed after spending £22.4m out of the £23m they had been given project authority for. A cut of similar proportions would have left Londoners with a £6m shortfall.
I am flabbergasted that TfL have almost silently made such deep cut, burying it in the driest of committee minutes, released on a Friday.
Cycle Superhighways are one of the Mayor’s flagship projects. I confess, I do not know how TfL expect to be able to deliver them with £40m less to spend. I wonder whether Boris does.