New process for rail funding aims to give best value for taxpayers
MAJOR rail upgrades will be funded through a new process in a bid to obtain the best value for taxpayers, the Department for Transport (DfT) has announced.
Network Rail was previously handed money for schemes whose budgets escalated, such as the electrification of the Great Western route.
But Transport Secretary Chris Grayling revealed in December last year that he was “going to do things differently”, with private sector involvement to design, build and operate a line between Oxford and Cambridge.
The DfT unveiled a multi-billion pound rail funding settlement yesterday but said cash for enhancements will be allocated separately to “provide more rigour in investment decisions”.
Details of how major projects will be funded are expected to be published later this year.
Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne said: “Network Rail is transforming into devolved businesses to better respond to its local customers and communities.
“This local focus, combined with opening up the funding, financing and delivery of investment projects to third parties, will help to drive efficiencies and value for the taxpayer.”
Around £48bn will be spent on the railway from 2019 to 2024, with a focus on maintenance and renewal work to improve the reliability of trains.
Mr Grayling said: “This Government is continuing its record funding in Britain’s rail network. As a commuter, I know how frustrating it is to be delayed by problems on the line.
“Passengers want a railway they can rely on and that’s where this huge investment will make a real difference to their everyday lives – by renewing more tracks earlier and increasing maintenance to deliver far better services.”