The entire HS2 project should be scrapped, says IEA analyst

Commenting on the plan, Andy Mayer, Energy, Environment and Infrastructure Analyst at free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

“The entire HS2 vanity project will cost more than the benefit it brings to the cities it connects. Ideally it should all be scrapped, but if savings are to be made, it must start with the least impactful branches. Sadly, this includes the Leeds links to the Midlands and Manchester. High speed rail over short distances, between areas of low population density, is little better than upgraded infrastructure, but much more expensive.“The angry response from some quarters – however justified – isn’t sufficient reason to continue a bad plan. Nor will the Northern Powerhouse succeed if entirely dependent on taxpayer handouts, politicians’ promises, and regional transfers. If the best paid jobs in your town are in local government, public services and rail lobbyists, you’re not a powerhouse.“Giving Northern authorities more power to develop private investment, by relaxing planning constraints and removing anti-business regulations, would create the real economic platform upon which future transport investment could be justified. It wasn’t government that built the original railroads, it was entrepreneurs seeking to profit from the Northern industrial boom.”


Notes to editors

Contact: Emily Carver, Head of Media, 07715 942 731

IEA spokespeople are available for interview and further comment.

Further IEA reading:

The Railroad to Serfdom, by Andy MayerThe High-Speed Gravy Train: Special Interests, Transport Policy and Government Spending, by Dr Richard WellingsFailure to transform: High-speed rail and the regeneration myth, Dr Richard Wellings


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