Monday 4 October 2010

Even more high speed 2

Philip Hammond, the Transport Secretary, has backed plans for high speed routes to Leeds and Manchester.

A year ago I wrote of the former government's HS2 plans: "the wider benefits - e.g. 'regenerating the north' - are even more uncertain. I suspect the only thing we can say with any certainty is that they are likely to be overstated." So I was delighted to see Mr Hammond upholding that tradition with his assertion that: "This great connectivity is fantastic news for the North East and other regions and will transform the economy, I have no doubt about that at all."

In short: The case for spending £33bn on high speed rail is greatly exaggerated; the case is even less convincing in light of government spending cuts; yet all the main political parties are for it. Go figure ...