Sunday, 4 May 2014

Thoughts on the HS2 debate a few days on - in 50 Years time will we wonder what the fuss was about?

My question in the HS2 Debate focused on the problem with all large infrastructure projects.

"All the northern councils and chambers of commerce back HS2 unequivocally as a source of growth and extra capacity. Is it not the case that all major infrastructure projects are objected to at the time of their creation, and that 50 years on, the objectors fully support what took place?"

HS1, M25, West Coast Mainline, East Coast mainline etc etc were all objected to before they were built. All are a big success now and used by millions. Indeed West Coast Mainline was originally defeated in parliament. The arguments for HS2 are strong. We need to think long term.

And on the point of whether rail spending is HS2 and nothing else it is true that many people against this project ask “Why not spend the money elsewhere?” This is about spending money elsewhere as well as, not instead of, on this project.

Patrick McLoughlin, the Secretary of State for Transport addressed this point by making the point that:
"Over the next five years Network Rail will spend £38.5 billion on the existing railway network. That is separate from the money being earmarked for HS2."

The Full debate from Monday is here: