Mayoral candidates clash on transport
31 March 2016, Blog
Yesterday morning (30 March), Zac Goldsmith and Sadiq Khan launched their manifestos for transport. Contrary to Sadiq Khan, Goldsmith has promised to keep spending on London’s transport network by pushing ahead with plans such as Crossrail 2 and a southern extension to the London Overground. He also wants to extend the Night Tube to cover a greater area of London and increase capacity by a third on the District, Metropolitan and Hammersmith & City Lines. In his manifesto he reaffirmed his opposition to expansion in Heathrow.
Goldsmith used the opportunity in Ilford to attack his rival’s plan to implement a TfL fares freeze, estimated to cost £450m. He claims that a freeze would create a £1.9bn black hole in the capital, thus endangering plans for new homes and eliciting hikes in council taxes.
Khan gave his rebuttal at a speech delivered in Brixton, at the same time in the morning. He argues that the freeze would be paid for by “efficiency savings and merging engineering functions within Transport for London, as well as clamping down on fare evasion”. He also made the point that he wants to save funds by ending pet projects associated with Boris Johnson, including the Emirates cable car and further purchases of the controversial Routemaster bus.
A poll by YouGov recently demonstrated that transport is the second most important issue for Londoners. It will be interesting to see whose side of the argument is taken by the electorate in the May elections.