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More London roads gridlock unless Government rescues threatened rail schemes

Jenny is calling for the renationalisation of the rail network and for schemes like Thameslink 2000, Orbirail and the East London Line Extension to be funded by scrapping the national road building plan.

The cash-strapped SRA is due to issue a cut down version of its strategic plan, which could threaten the building of long-promised schemes like Crossrail. The funding from the government’s ten year plan was meant to increase capacity of the rail network and maintain the momentum of the shift of people from road to rail.

However, the backlog of maintenance work exposed by the Hatfield crash has eaten into the budget. In addition the system of sub-contracting created by privatisation has rapidly increased basic costs.

Jenny Jones said, “If plans for the national road building plan were to be scrapped £35 billion could be liberated over a period of 10 years. This would insure adequate funding for improving the rail system in London and for other schemes to reduce road traffic. The threat to these rail schemes is bad news for Londoners. These schemes and many other smaller scale schemes, have simply got to happen. Any delay would mean more cars on the roads, more pollution and more road casualties.

Many people hoped that this government would invest in rail and provide a more sustainable alternative to the car, but the collapse of these schemes, would be a collapse of that promise. The only way to ensure that the rail network is properly maintained and improved is to take it back into public ownership.”

Prof John Whitelegg, Green Party Chief Policy Advisor on Transport comments:
"In the Comprehensive Spending Review Labour cut £300million from the Strategic Rail Authority’s (SRA’s) budget but pledged hundreds of millions of pounds on motorway widening. This is in spite of opinion polls that show nearly two thirds of the British Public want to stop road building. It is, of course, also well established that road building will not solve transport problems."

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