Time to put brakes on hugely expensive high speed rail plan

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From: Danny Myers, Lees Lane, Northallerton.

I SEE that the Institute for Economic Affairs has produced a report which concludes that the proposed HS2 high speed rail project will cost the taxpayer almost double the government’s estimate – £80bn versus
£42.5bn.

It further concludes that “the evidence is now overwhelmingly that this will be unbelievably costly to the taxpayer while delivering incredibly poor value for money”.

The HS2 rail link allegedly will allow trains to travel at up to 250mph between London and Birmingham with branches to Manchester and Leeds, distances of around 120, 190 and 200 miles respectively.

Where is the sense in travelling at such high speed over such short distances for a reduction in journey time amounting to a few minutes only?

The number of passengers
who would benefit from such a small reduction in journey time does not in any way justify the cost, whether it be £42.5 or 
£80bn.

The egotistical lunatics in Whitehall and Westminster say that HS2 is “absolutely vital” and will give a “huge economic boost” for generations.

As far as I am concerned, none of the supporters of this scheme have produced any tangible evidence, nor figures, to prove to me that HS2 will give a huge economic boost at all, never mind for generations.

A Department for Transport spokesman says: “The Government is committed to managing the cost within the budget we have set for the project and to securing maximum value for money for the taxpayer, while also ensuring that preparations are properly made for the most significant infrastructure investment the UK has seen in modern times.”

Can anyone remember the last time that a government infrastructure project was executed on time and within budget?

From: Robert Craig, Priory Road, Weston-Super-Mare, North Somerset.

EARLIER this year, the Government revised the estimated cost of HS2 from £30bn to £40bn. Now we are told that the final cost is likely to be twice that, at £80bn (Yorkshire Post, August 19).

As a country we cannot afford it – besides which it is not the best way of spending money on transport. HS2 is a vanity project designed to convey government Ministers and BBC executives between London, Birmingham and Manchester.

It was the brainchild of the Labour Party’s Lord Andrew Adonis when he was Secretary of State for Transport.

The current coalition Government’s Transport Secretary is every bit as committed to the HS2 white elephant as his Labour predecessor.

HS2 will be of no benefit to the country as a whole. A small fraction of the money planned to be spent on HS2 could revolutionise local transport.

This country is about the most centralised in Europe. It is all about London. The North needs a devolved parliament to plan transport across the North, and take planning away from Whitehall where HS2 was dreamt up.