By Max Clarke
The much-hyped HS2 high speed-rail link between London and Birmingham is not commercially viable and places a high proportion of the £32 billion burden on the taxpayer.
The centre-right free market think-tank, the Institute of Economic Affairs, today exposed a series of deep economic flaws in their latest publication, entitled High Speed 2: the next government project disaster?.
“High Speed 2 is another political vanity project — like Concorde and the Millennium Dome — being ploughed ahead with with complete disregard for properly thought-through commercial prospects or the mounting opposition to it,” says co-author, Dr Richard Wellings.
The project has been a controversial issue, polarising opinion between those who consider it an unjustifiably expensive white elephant that tears through protected countryside; and those who deem its opponents luddites impeding much needed development at the expense of jobs growth.
The report suggested that journey time reductions are exaggerated due to the need to build a new station on the outskirts of Birmingham, instead of being delivered to the central station.
Its forecast 255mph speed will drain disproportionate energy levels from the national grid, and its operation will rely on heavy subsidies.
“Its environmental credentials are questionable, its projected passenger figures suspect, and its proposed regenerative effects highly dubious,” continued Dr. Wellings, before deeming the scheme ‘a recipe for disaster’.
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