BAA puts £230m in the pot for Crossrail project

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The Independent Online

BAA is to contribute £230m to the £15.9bn estimated cost of the Crossrail transport project due to be built in London by 2017, the airports operator said yesterday. In return, the company has been promised that Crossrail will provide at least four fast trains an hour for most of the day, connecting Heathrow Airport with central London, the City, Docklands and beyond.

The BAA deal is a boost for the Government, which is desperate to secure private-sector funding for Crossrail. The project, Europe's largest civil engineering works, is expected to cost more than twice as much to build as the Channel Tunnel, with work scheduled to begin in 2010.

Ministers have already committed £5.6bn of public money to the scheme, but that leaves more than £10bn to be raised from the private sector. While the Corporation of London has promised that the City will make a significant contribution to the cost of the project, a very sizeable funding gap remains.

Mike Forster, BAA's director of strategy, said: "This vital new link will directly connect the City and Canary Wharf to the airport... Crossrail will be crucial in keeping London and the UK globally competitive."