High Speed Fail: Now California Ditches HS2 Equivalent

The writing is increasingly on the wall for the ludicrously expensive HS2 scheme after a Channel 4 Dispatches investigation this week revealed the ballooning cost of the white elephant project, with fears that the final bill could be as high as £100 billion. The investigation claimed that ministers have already secretly increased HS2’s budget allocation to £6 billion a year. Almost as much as the entire rest of the rail network put together…

There was another blow to HS2’s prospects this week from across the Atlantic as California decided to put the brakes on its own $77 billion high speed rail white elephant. It has been plagued by all the same budget issues as HS2, it is already $44 billion over budget and 13 years behind schedule…

Intriguingly, Guido has got wind that one of the ways Dominic Cummings has been keeping himself busy since the referendum is by making a number of secretive trips to California and reporting back to ministers and senior officials about Silicon Valley’s now successful efforts to lobby against high-speed rail and focus on autonomous vehicles instead. Cummings has a point – polling consistently shows that binning HS2 would be hugely popular with swing voters in marginal constituencies…

Will the post-May/Hammond Government take the chance to emulate California and actually do something which is both very popular and would save tens of billions? Surely not, Sir Humphrey will never allow so many dodgy contracts to be cancelled…


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