The mayor of Watford has written to the Prime Minister urging him to help revive the aborted Met Line Extension (MLX) scheme.

A proposal to extend the Met Line to Watford Junction officially ended in 2018 after the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, pulled the plug on the scheme for financial reasons.

Now Watford's mayor, Peter Taylor, is hoping Boris Johnson can bring the proposal back to life.

The call comes ahead of the government’s budget next month, and indications that the Prime Minister wants to invest in improvements to transport infrastructure across the country.

In a letter sent today to Mr Johnson, Mr Taylor writes: "I welcome your commitment to investing in Britain's infrastructure to boost economic growth and provide people with more choice to use sustainable modes of transport.

"During your time as mayor of London, you were a strong supporter of MLX. In 2015, you provided financial support from Transport for London (TfL), as well as committing them to oversee and deliver the project.

"You clearly understand the need for the Met Line to be extended and for better rail infrastructure across the country.

"I hope your government can make this transport link a reality so that the enormous benefits it would bring can be realised."

Mr Taylor adds the scheme is "shovel ready" - although a Works Act has run out, so this legislation would need to be passed through Parliament again for the scheme to go ahead.

What is the Met Line Extension?

MLX was a proposed extension of the Metropolitan tube line from Croxley to Watford Junction which would have run via Vicarage Road.

It would involve re-opening five miles of disused railway line.

Proposed government funding programme for the new scheme known then as Croxley Rail Link was announced by the Department for Transport way back in 2010.

There were suggestions the rail link (MLX) could be up and running by 2016.

As part of the proposals, Watford Met station would close and two new stations would be created.

Watford Observer:

Work began, with TfL taking over the scheme from Hertfordshire County Council in 2015. But the plans were left out of the Mayor of London’s travel agenda in 2016.

In late 2017, it became clear the project may not happen, and in January 2018 the scheme was pulled.

A Freedom of Information request by the Observer in March 2017 revealed that almost £130 million of taxpayers’ money had been spent on the project.

Why did TfL abandon the scheme?

The scheme, which involved investment from TfL, the government, Hertfordshire County Council, Watford Borough Council, and the Local Economic Partnership, appeared to back on track in January 2018 after former Watford MP Richard Harrington secured the £73 million shortfall needed.

TfL says its most recent estimate of the final cost of MLX (February 2017) was £357.8 million - £73.4 million higher than the funding package available. Although Mr Harrington was able to cover the shortfall, TfL says the £357 million figure did not take into account cost risk beyond that estimate.

A TfL spokesman said London mayor Mr Khan could not progress with the scheme because it was "such a huge financial risk to London taxpayers".

Previous mayor Mr Johnson had reportedly "agreed to take all the risk of additional costs" to MLX.

Therefore the scheme was abandoned in January 2018.

It is important to note that the £73 million shortfall Mr Harrington found would need to be re-applied for.

What has Sadiq Khan said since TfL abandoned the scheme?

When Mr Khan was asked about MLX at a Labour party conference in September 2019, he said the issue regarding MLX was "who pays for it".

He added if the government or council got the money needed, he would be "more than happy" to get the Met line extended to Watford Junction.