Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Bosses Unite to Force Action on Transport Chaos

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Bosses Unite to Force Action on Transport Chaos

Article excerpt

Byline: MARK BENHAM

SOME OF the country's most influential business leaders today back a major campaign to force the Government to tackle London's transport chaos.

The scale of the crisis is underlined by new figures showing that Tube delays, roadworks and congestion cost businesses in London an estimated [pound]20 million a day.

London's main business organisations, backed by companies such as BA, KPMG and Excel, will demand that all political parties make transport improvements in London a key election pledge. They accuse the Government of "continued political interference and lack of leadership" over key projects.

As a post-election target, the campaign wants action within the first 100 days of the next government on a range of stalled programmes. They include:

A swift decision, already postponed until after the election, on whether to build a controversial fifth terminal at Heathrow

A commitment to draft a Bill allowing the proposed east-west CrossRail link, a favourite project of the City, to be built

A decision on how the Thames-link 200 rail scheme will be delivered Invitations for tenders to extend the East London line on London Underground Consultation on and the appointment of a project manager for delivery of Thames Gateway River Crossings Another key demand is a date for the handover of the Tube to Mayor Ken Livingstone's Transport for London authority.

The campaign - initiated by London First and backed by the London Chamber of Commerce and the CBI - threatens to turn transport into a potential vote loser for Labour. Ken Livingstone has already pledged to make his fight against the Government's Tube part-privatisation the major issue in the run-up to a June poll.

London First's members warn that the capital is in danger of a brain-drain of professional talent because discontent and stress among commuters is rising so sharply.

British Airways chairman Lord Marshall said London faced being "left standing" by cities with a superior transport infrastructure. …

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