The Taxpayers’ Alliance is calling on the UK’s second high speed rail line project to be scrapped, siting the development of driverless vehicles as one reason why it’s an “expensive vanity project”.
Unpredictable technological progress, such as the development of autonomous vehicles may also hinder current efforts to forecast future demand
It says that the business case for HS2 has “fallen apart” and the scheme is “already projected to be massively over its original budget”. A statement continues, “it is unlikely to be completed on schedule and there’s a significant chance that future technological developments, such as autonomous vehicles, will make it an obsolete technology years before the first train sets off for Birmingham.”
It says other key findings of its research are:
- Projected costs are rising and are likely to be almost £90 billion
- The business case is flawed and hugely overstates the case for HS2
- Demand for travel on HS2 is uncertain
- Timely delivery of the project is very unlikely
- Other proposals would provide greater value for money than HS2’s Phase One
- HS2 is unlikely to help develop the economy of North England to the extent that has been suggested.
- The need for increased travel capacity could well be met by new technologies.
“Turning Birmingham into an outpost of London is a bad idea,” it continues. “With a new Prime Minister in office, the TPA is calling on the government to scrap HS2 and focus on other infrastructure projects across the UK with much better benefit/cost ratios. Seizing the opportunity now will help drive growth and boost productivity in other regions of the UK outside London.”
Jonathan Isaby, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said, “HS2 is a wasteful vanity project which is unlikely to be completed on schedule and will cost taxpayers a fortune. The new Prime Minister should now be pursuing bold and imaginative policies to boost economic growth and increase productivity – and that positive approach must include scrapping HS2, which has cost taxpayers far too much already. Ministers should instead be embarking on more worthwhile infrastructure projects that will cost less and deliver far better value.”