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Labour still sniping at Cable Car scheme

Last year, discussing the plans of Boris Johnson Mayor of London for a Cable Car crossing of the River Thames, the Labour Member of the London Assembly, John Biggs, said:

I am happy to publicly guarantee that if it is open by May 2012 I will vote for you, Boris because I know it is not going to happen!

The schedule will certainly be a challenge. the Olympic Games open on July 27th. But Mr Biggs may be getting nervous at the prospects of success.

Another aim was for the project to be self financing. That is also quite a challenge as the original estimate did not include the cost of buying land and so the total now estimated has risen to £60 million. But there is £36 million of sponsorship from Emirates and there will also be significant revenue from other sources including fares.

At the last Mayor's Question Time, Boris said:

On the cable car I am very pleased to confirm what Members will have seen, which is that we have secured a very substantial sponsorship deal for the cable car of £36 million, which will enable this project to go ahead, either at no expense to the public purse, which is still I think possible, or at very little expense to the public purse.  I think that is it.  That is a considerable achievement.  I know how strong the support for the cable car was amongst Labour members, although they did not offer any means of funding it themselves.  I notice that they always deprecate any kind of private involvement.

They would not have got a penny from the private sector themselves.  I note their support for it.  I note, by the way, I seem to remember that some of my Labour friends over there on my right actually pledged to vote for me in the event that the cable car was built.  Do you remember that?  I remember, so I not only look forward to delivering the cable car with either no or very little public support, I think an extraordinary achievement in these circumstances, and I look forward very much to receiving the votes of the Labour Members.  I think the record will relate, Jennette, that there was a pledge made in this place by the Member concerned and look forward to him making good on that pledge.

I wonder if Mr Biggs will still insist on voting Labour on a technicality if the Cable Car opens after May 31st next year but before July 27th. Even if he does there will be plenty of other Londoners delighted that this project, carrying 2,500 passengers an hour across the Thames in each direction, will be up and running.


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