TAXPAYERS are set to foot a mammoth bill for the new HS2 rail line, with the combined cost of construction and operation estimated to be in excess of £60bn.
Yet the government says the £33bn construction costs will be affordable, spread out over around 15 years.
“Actual infrastructure costs would only start once we have finished building Crossrail,” said a spokesman at the Department for Transport (DfT).
Taxpayers will bear the brunt of the costs, the DfT admitted, yet told City A.M. they were looking at spreading the burden. “It’s going to have a mega impact in different cities, so we’re certainly looking to secure funding from those kind of places.”
“It may well be the case that other organisations may contribute to the costs of HS2, including local authorities and private sector organisations who may benefit from the opportunities opened up by the scheme,” the HS2 group stated in its appraisal, released yesterday.
Passing the proposal remains a lengthy procedure, with a “hybrid bill” taken to Parliament next year. The DfT promised to “engage extensively with the communities and individuals affected by the railway”.