Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Boost to Rail Link Plan as Minister Is Put in Charge; CROSSRAIL NOW: MP's APPOINTMENT RAISES HOPES THAT CROSSRAIL WILL FINALLY GET THE GO-AHEAD

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Boost to Rail Link Plan as Minister Is Put in Charge; CROSSRAIL NOW: MP's APPOINTMENT RAISES HOPES THAT CROSSRAIL WILL FINALLY GET THE GO-AHEAD

Article excerpt

Byline: PATRICK HENNESSY

HOPES that Crossrail will get the go-ahead rose today as it emerged that a Government minister has been handed specific responsibility for the scheme.

Tony McNulty, who until this month was minister for London in John Prescott's housing and local government department, has been transferred to the transport department - where his portfolio includes transport in the capital.

He has told MPs that this specifically includes Crossrail.

The news came as a boost for supporters of the [pounds sterling]10billion project ahead of an announcement by Transport Secretary Alistair Darling expected next month.

Mr Darling is under pressure from MPs and business leaders to allow Crossrail to go ahead.

He has said he will only do so if he is convinced by a business plan to be presented to him in July by Strategic Rail Authority chief Richard Bowker and Bob Kiley, London's transport commissioner.

The chances of a positive verdict have increased now that Mr McNulty has been given responsibility for the project in Tony Blair's recent reshuffle. …

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