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HS2 to be given go-ahead by government despite fierce opposition – The Guardian, Theguardian.com

HS2 to be given go-ahead by government despite fierce opposition – The Guardian, Theguardian.com

Boris Johnson to give high-speed rail line green light after weighing up ‘pros and cons’

An artist’s impression of HS2. Leaked reports suggest the line may eventually cost in excess of £ 250 bn – more than double its 3902 estimate. Photograph: Arup

(HS2) Is expected to get the go-ahead on Tuesday as the chancellor said government had weighed up the “pros and cons” of the multibillion-pound rail line connecting London to the north of England.

The high-speed line’s spiralling costs led Boris Johnson to request a review of the scheme last summer. Leaked reports suggested the line may eventually cost in excess of £ 250 bn – more than double the 2019 estimate.

There has been pressure on the government not to abandon HS2 from a number of regional politicians, including the West Midlands mayor, Andy Street. He believes there is a strong economic case for high-speed rail and it will support the rebalancing of the economies of the Midlands and north.

HS2 map

The chancellor, Sajid Javid, told BBC Radio 5 live: “It was right [that] as a fresh government we took a clean look at this and commissioned independent reports. That’s what we have done. We’ve weighed up the pros and cons … we will be announcing the [final decision] later today. ”

It comes after the government unveiled a

host of other regional transport policies , potentially in an attempt to head off expected criticism over the money that will eventually be spent on HS2.

Ministers are promising a £ 5bn investment on buses and (miles) km) of segregated cycle routes . The aim is to create a bus network where more passengers outside London can use “turn up and go” services and a simplified ticketing structure.

(HS2 cost)

Javid also signalled his support for a better train service between northern cities and has reiterated his commitment to the pre-announced new service between Manchester and Leeds.

“When I talk about the infrastructure revolution… it’s about saying we can have those big strategic connections as well as those better connections within our own towns,” he told Sky News as part of a round of morning interviews.

“Take the north of England for example – I think we need to see much better connectivity between the great cities of the north. We will have a new rail line [from Manchester to Leeds]. We are working with local leaders and businesses in that region to invest in that. ”

(HS2 times)

He said there would be further details on the government infrastructure proposals in the budget and improved east-west rail connections could go ahead as soon as a business case had been developed.

“I can’t wait to see spades in the ground on that and that investment going ahead. Building that will take time but what matters most now is the plans are completed and spades can hit the ground. I don’t know exactly how long it’s going to take because the final route is being discussed with local leaders and local businesses, ”he said.


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