Thursday, 11 March 2010

Screw the deficit, build high speed railways

Unsurprisingly, Lord Adonis has announced a plan to spend £2 billion MORE of taxpayers' money (future taxpayers, since the country is still in deficit) on building a high speed railway from London to Birmingham.

Where is the money coming from?

Most of it NOT from the business users who are primarily expected to benefit from faster travel times, but from future taxpayers.

Contrast this to the Channel Tunnel, which was financed and built by the private sector, ultimately went bankrupt, but saw the banks bear the risk and help nurse it to profitability. The train companies using the tunnel pay for it, and this is passed on in fares and charges to passengers and freight customers.

This is a blatant election bribe, a grandious big project to capture the imagination and get foolish voters starry eyed about the ludicrous claim that politicians make projects like these happen. They don't. All they do is force the money out of taxpayers, or borrow from future taxpayers, to pay those who build it.

At the very least, it should be shelved until the budget is in surplus, but preferably it should be left to private enterprise. After all, why should users of high speed trains be given a subsidy on their rail fare?

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