Posted 9th February 2010 | 2 Comments

High Speed rail ’should be funded with public money’

A REPORT has said that a domestic High Speed line should be funded by the public purse, and that even a public-private partnership is not suitable. The recommendation comes a few weeks ahead of the publication of the Government's own White Paper, which is expected to set out High Speed plans.

The report has been compiled after research by the firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers which was commissioned by the High Speed rail lobby group Greengauge21. It says that a new line could be built between London and Manchester for £27.5 billion. It also estimates that fare income would be £73 billion between 2022 and 2053.

Unlike some other commentators, PwC is not recommending significant private sector investment in such a project, although it does examine a number of ways of finding the capital needed, including the involvement of a body like Network Rail, which commands extensive borrowing powers. It does say that the private sector could step in, possibly as the operator, once such a line is complete.

Jim Steer of Greengauge21 told The Times: “This report makes sense. The real key to this is that there has to be an organisation that can buy the asset once it is constructed and is receiving regulated revenues.”

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • brian goss, Beeston, Engand

    Hmm, not convinced that publicly managed construction projects have a very good 'track record' (see WCML, 2012 olympics, scottish parliament building,) whereas the build-operate-transfer model used for HS1 delivered on time and on budget.

  • les Burge, leicester, england

    Do you mean that once all the risks have been taken out the private sector can then get their grubby hands on it and make a mint out of the travelling public.