There are alternatives to outgoing London mayor Boris Johnson’s flagship tunnel plans if his successor rejects them, a senior Transport for London (TfL) official has said.
It follows Transport Network’s exclusive that three of the four main candidates in May's election oppose plans for strategic and shorter tunnels outlined by Mr Johnson last month. Only Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith backs the proposals.
Richard de Cani, TfL’s managing director for planning, told Transport Network that the plans came out the work of the 2013 Roads Task Force, and were TfL’s own thoughts about how tunnels could help tackle future congestion.
TfL will be responding to the new mayor's priorities on transport
He acknowledged that TfL would be responding to the new mayor’s priorities around transport, but added 'congestion is a fact we need to deal with in the future'.
'There are a whole range of policy measures that you can do to deal with that and choices that a future mayor will have, and building some space and putting it underground is one option and there are other things we could do to address that as well,’ he said.
Mr De Cani stressed that strategic tunnels would not tackle congestion ‘without an appropriate charging regime and without other things happening’.
He acknowledged that the complexity of the situation, together with a predicted rise in traffic across the capital meant it would be difficult in future to establish whether the tunnels had led to a net increase in traffic.
Assessing the overall impact was a case of ‘comparing strategic packages against strategic packages’, he said.
Last month, Mr Johnson said he had asked TfL to explore whether revenue from Vehicle Excise Duty could be ‘integrated with other charges to form a single, easier way of paying for road use’.
Mr De Cani told Transport Network it is ‘too early to say’ what such a scheme would look like, adding: ‘what the new mayor wants to do will have a key bearing on that.’