Authorities behind a £200 million rail project face a race against time to get the government go-ahead before May but confusion has surfaced over who will be managing the scheme.

Last Friday, it emerged Transport for London "has a preference" to take over management of the Croxley Rail Link- which is expected to cost around £230 million.

But Watford’s MP, Richard Harrington has also claimed he has been "clearly told" the rail provider is taking over the project- a claim disputed by TFL.

Business leaders have also called on the Mayor of London to push London Underground to commit to the Croxley Rail Link, saying, "it would be a great pity if lack of commitment from London Underground were to prevent the project progressing".

David Hughes, London Underground’s Director of Major Programme Sponsorship, said: "The Croxley Rail link is a Hertfordshire County Council led project.

"Due to increases in the cost estimates for the project, London Underground has been asked by the Government to consider taking on an enhanced role to deliver the project.

"No decision on this has been taken and talks between London Underground, Hertfordshire County Council and the Department for Transport are still ongoing."

But Watford’s MP, Richard Harrington said this week: "I have been told clearly that TFL is taking full management responsibility for this project.

"I have had further meetings arranged with the Department for Transport and others to discuss everything in more detail and ensure everything moves ahead.

"You cannot have three managers for one project, with Transport for London, Hertfordshire County Council and Watford Borough Council.

"Transport for London has accepted that responsibility to be lead manager.

"I have attended a lot of high level meetings about the Croxley Rail Link and originally, it was promoted by Hertfordshire County Council, but it is an integral part of the London Underground system.

"It seemed right that TFL should accept the lead management role."

However, Tracey O’Brien, representative for Transport for London, disputed this, saying: "As far as I am aware, discussions are still on-going."

Hertfordshire County Council's Cabinet will receive a report on Monday, February 23 and this will detail how the Croxley Rail Link will be delivered.

Politicians will then be asked to approve the council’s financial contribution to the project.

Ana Vaughan, representative for Hertfordshire County Council, said: "If approval for the scheme is to be given by late March 2015, before Parliament dissolves, the timetable for a decision is challenging.

"The Department for Transport needs commitments from both Hertfordshire County Council and London Underground Limited by the end of February 2015 to enable them to consider a final funding decision by late March 2015."

In December, London Underground said the government had asked it to take on an "enhanced role" in delivering the project after the estimated cost rose by £110 million.

The Croxley Rail Link is now expected to cost £230 million and the county council said "minimal work" would be needed to run services from Watford to Amersham.