06 February 2011
The TaxPayers’ Alliance denounces Britain’s high speed rail plans
Brian Micklethwait

Matthew Sinclair, Director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, is not a fan of Britain’s high speed rail plans:

It is incredible that while the Government are imposing higher taxes on ordinary families, and making necessary cuts in spending on services like education, they are planning on throwing billions at a new train line that will only benefit a well-off few. Passengers on the new high speed line are never expected to pay enough to cover the project’s costs in fares, and it will depend on massive subsidy at the expense of millions who never use the line. This just can’t be a priority with the massive scale of the fiscal crisis and huge pressure on family budgets. Politicians should focus on making commuter journeys more convenient and affordable, not a flashy new train set that will be a huge white elephant.

The scheme will cut journey times at a cost of £500 million per minute saved, says the TPA’s report.  It will never produce a financial return.  It will not cut greenhouse gases.  It embodies highly unrealistic assumptions about usage.  It will favour the rich at the expense of the less rich.

Report, by Chris Stokes (a man which plenty of railway industry experience - scroll down to “About the author"), here.  Press release (issued last Friday) here.

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