Crossrail gets the go-ahead

With an expanding population and economy improving London's
infrastructure is definitely a good idea.  Anyone who has faced
overcrowding on the tube in the morning can see that.  However,
with the project expected to cost £16 billion, more than the Olympics and Heathrow Terminal 5 combined and the record of big government projects - one third over budget on average - which the TaxPayers' Alliance discovered it is hard not to feel a certain sense of foreboding.


Hopefully when this project is set up the lessons of the TaxPayers'
Alliance report "Beyond the Dome:  Government projects £23 billion over
budget" will be taken into account:


    • Public sector officials fail to properly specify what is needed from a project at the outset.


    • Public officials and contractors underestimate the cost of a
      project in order to gain approval in the knowledge that projects are
      rarely cancelled when they later go over budget.


    • Fixed-price contracts are not foolproof.


  • Politicians and civil servants lack management experience and subject knowledge and change posts too frequently.



For more detail and evidence of these problems read the report (PDF).
If politicians learn lessons from past mistakes we, at the TaxPayers'
Alliance, might not have the sad task of forming 'Crossrail Watch' in a
few years time.  Here's hoping.

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