Can Merton and Sutton Borough Council foot the £230m South Wimbledon Tramlink Extension funding deficit?
This morning I read an article by the Evening Standard which didn't have it's facts straight (again). They said that TfL had committed £70m to the Tramlink extension, and that's just not right.
Following a little bit of research which the reporter could have done, he'd see that it's far from a done-deal!
Answers from the Mayor of London regarding the South Wimbledon - Sutton Tramlink Extension
Although a specific budget has not been allocated for this, a contribution towards the scheme could be available during the business plan period through the TfL Growth Fund, which will be used to help boroughs fund schemes that will help unlock growth and develop opportunities.
Around £200 million of this is presently unallocated, and a portion of this could supplement a funding package for the Sutton extension. TfL is now working with both Sutton and Merton Councils to look at the business case.
There is no reason why Sutton cannot bid for that money, but it is important for Sutton to look at how it can make the sums add up and we are willing to help it get there.
I do not want to criticise Sutton Council in its absence, but it needs to be more ambitious in relation to the monies it is going to have to contribute toward a Sutton tram extension. There is money there in the Growth Fund.
There is £200 million. There is no reason at all why there could not be a significant contribution toward the Sutton tram extension.
Except of course that Sutton and Merton are unlikely able to foot the £230m deficit!
That was back in January 2017, and he has since said:
I intend to submit a Transport & Works Act Order application for this extension by early 2020.
A Funding Statement will need to accompany the Order application, which is why TfL is working very closely with the London Boroughs of Sutton and Merton to develop the scheme and the funding package. As you are aware, there is a funding gap at present, but I am hopeful that a viable solution can be found.
Why don't Sutton and Merton Borough Council's fund the deficit?
Excellent question - I feel we should write to Steve O'Connell and find out!
Many raise the point that TfL's finances aren't in good shape, and still may not be in years to come.
Their government funding is being cut while at the same time revenues from the London Underground have gone down for the first time in a decade.
I don't know if the £200m in their growth fund could be re-allocated into running costs. If it could then perhaps the whole tramlink extension project will be in jeopardy.
Meanwhile Merton and Sutton council aren't rallying any sense of urgency in order to provide a service which will surely benefit the community overall.
- Contact your local MP (find out who they are here)
- Contact your local borough council, Merton and Sutton are the most relevant, but you'd think neighbouring councils might benefit and want to help.
- Remember that 81% of the 10000 locals who were surveyed on this support the idea, so you are justified in being a little impatient!
- Join a local WhatsApp or Facebook group on this topic to keep the momentum and discussion going!
Siobhain McDonagh MP
Constituency Mitcham and Morden
Rt Hon Tom Brake MP
Constituency Carshalton and Wallington
Stephen Hammond MP