Taxpayers face near £900m bill for Heathrow western rail link,…

taxpayers-face-near-900m-bill-for-heathrow-western-rail-link,…

Taxpayers face near £900m bill for Heathrow western rail link,…

Taxpayers face near £900m bill for Heathrow western rail link, if airport won’t pay
2021-07-26 09:41:00
It was announced in September 2020 that the Great Western rail link between Reading and Heathrow would be delayed by up to two years. It was first proposed in 2012. A DCO application to construct the new line is not expected for some time. Heathrow was set to pay for much of the cost, as the link would benefit its passengers. But in April Heathrow withdrew its funding, because of the crisis in its finances due to the pandemic.  Other funding from the private sector will be “much smaller” than previously envisaged.  So it looks as if taxpayers may have to fund most of a £900m bill. The rail minister, Chris Heaton-Harris, told a parliamentary committee last week that he would recommend that taxpayers pay instead, as part of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s spending review this autumn.  Network Rail said that the Department for Transport had asked it to delay beginning the project by a year until the winter of 2022.  It said it would not progress until there was a satisfactory financial arrangement, “including an appropriate financial contribution from Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL); this requires endorsement by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) as the relevant regulator.” .Tweet     Taxpayers face near £900m bill for Heathrow rail link The airport was set to bankroll the majority of the transport link to the West Country before withdrawing funding pledge in pandemic By Oliver Gill, CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (Telegraph) 25 July 2021 Taxpayers may have to fund most of a £900m bill to build a train line linking Heathrow to the West Country after funding from the airport and other private investors fell through. Chris Heaton-Harris, the rail minister, said he would ask the Treasury to pay for building a line between Heathrow’s Terminal 5 and the express line that links London Paddington with Reading and the west of England and Wales. The Western Rail approach to Heathrow has been nine years in the making, having first been proposed by Theresa Villiers, then transport minister, in 2012. Under Chris Grayling, the former Transport Secretary, it was included in a series of rail building projects that would be funded by private capital. The state owns Britain’s tracks and other rail infrastructure through government-owned Network Rail. Hopes of it being built appeared to have been dashed in April when Heathrow withdrew its funding as a result of its finances being squeezed by the coronavirus pandemic. But Mr Heaton-Harris told a parliamentary committee last week that he would recommend that taxpayers stump up the funds instead as part of Rishi Sunak’s spending review this autumn. He conceded that the funding from the private sector will be “much smaller” than previously envisaged. “Whatever it is, I will be making, in the spending review, a bid from our dep

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