Crossrail is finally set to get Government backing today. But not Government money. Someone somewhere is going to have to raise £10 billion to fund this sub-London pipedream. Here are a few fundraising possibilities - although you may have additional ideas...
a) Get multinational companies to sponsor each of the new stations, perhaps renaming them (from west to east) British Airways, Selfridges, Virgin Megastore, Sainsbury, Lloyd's, Whitbread, HSBC and Poundstretcher.
b) Divert one of the western branches to Chelsea and ask Mr Abramovich to pay up.
c) Hire students to walk up and down tube carriages for the next decade carrying large buckets and pretending it's Rag Week.
d) Increase the Congestion Charge for BMWs to £10, for 4x4s to £100 and for black ministerial limousines to £1000.
e) When Crossrail trains are finally ready (sort of 2013-ish) set up an onboard trolley service serving up overpriced coffee and flapjacks - should make a fortune.
f) Charge every 2012 Olympic visitor a special £500 surcharge to build a rail system that won't be ready until well after the Marathon has finished.
g) Ask every business in the City to donate 0.001% of its annual share capital, or maybe get some fat suits to forego their annual bonuses for a few years.
h) Ask every Londoner to contribute 40p a day for the next 10 years. I don't mind giving up buying the Evening Standard every day if that's what it takes.