A leading rail authority has reiterated that the introduction of HS2 remains vital for the UK economy and its regional communities.
Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association (RIA), the national trade body that represents almost 300 suppliers in the rail sector, responded to the government’s written statement to Parliament regarding HS2.
New research has shown that the project is set to be subject to lengthy delays; the first phase from London to Birmingham could be as much as five years late.
The second phase, which will connect the North to Birmingham and London, could be delivered years later than planned too, with the opening as late as 2040.
Costs are expected to rise too; initially expected to cost almost £56 billion, costs have spiralled and, according to today’s prices, the project could cost up to £88 billion, according to HS2’s Chairman.
However, the UK economy and its city regions will greatly benefit from the scheme according to the RIA, who also point out that the advantages of the scheme have been “substantially undervalued.”
Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the RIA, said: “Despite news that HS2 Phase 1 may not be completed until 2028/29 and the update on costs, it is important to remember the project remains vital for the UK, its economy, cities and regional communities, and as shown by Chairman Alan Cook’s Stocktake, the benefits have been substantially undervalued.
“It will still more than pay for itself in GVA for the country, and will support 30,000 jobs at peak construction.
“We do of course need to ensure major infrastructure schemes like these represent value for money for the taxpayer, which is why the RIA welcomed the setting up of the Oakervee Review and looks forward to working with the Review team to see how HS2 can be delivered as quickly and cost effectively as possible.”
The aforementioned review will provide more detail as to what the scheme will mean for the UK economy.