Andrew Gilligan, writing in the Evening Standard, turns his attention to the question of who is to blame. He places the fault directly at Tube Lines' door:
TfL reckons [the maintenance work] should cost £4.1 billion. Tube Lines says it should cost £7.2 billion. After several months of research and modelling, the arbiter ruled on Tuesday that a fair price for the work is between £5.1 and £5.6 billion.
In other words, the real story this week is the fact that Tube Lines, the ultimate cowboy builder, wants to charge up to £2.1 billion more than an independent expert reckons the work should actually cost (and £3.1 billion more than TfL says it should cost). This is no “shortfall”, it is a greed and inefficiency premium.
The entire article is a must read.
The Economist, meanwhile, also takes a look at TfL's problems, questioning where the money will come from to solve this problem - their suggestion would be an embarrassing one for the Mayor:
Tony Travers, an economist at the London School of Economics, points out that a business tax designed to pay for Crossrail is not ring-fenced and could be diverted for a few years to plug the funding gap in the Tube upgrade.
Perhaps because of this, TfL is apparently on the search for a good advertiser. Wasn't that exactly the sort of activity which candidate Johnson mocked Mayor Livingstone for undertaking?