PPP regulator may resort to funding review to resolve dispute between Tube Lines and TfL

The £30bn programme to upgrade London's underground rail system could be downsized after the PPP regulator threatened to step in over a funding dispute, according to reports.

An article in the Guardian claims that Chris Bolt, the arbiter of PPP contracts, is preparing to launch a consultation into the tube's funding situation if Tube Lines and Transport for London (TfL) fail to reach an agreement.

The two bodies have been rowing over the cost of a seven-year maintenance programme, which includes improvements to the Piccadilly line. Contractor Tube Lines has said it will need up to £7.2bn, while TfL claims the work can be done for £4.1bn.

Tube station
Contractor Tube Lines says the work will cost £7.2bn but TfL claims it can be done for £4.1bn

Bolt reportedly told the Guardian that cutting back the Tube Lines work would be the only option if the programme ended up costing more than £4.1bn and the government refused to give more cash to TfL.

He said: “If that gap remains there are two options: one is more money and the other is 'de-scoping'. One of the duties I have in the Railway Act is to give London Underground the opportunity to review its requirements such as what it is asking Tube Lines to deliver in terms of performance, upgrades, asset condition and station improvements."

Tube Lines, which is co-owned by Bechtel, is expected to produce a revised estimate for the programme's costs by 30 June.