Grayling says there is no limit to HS2 cost, which is and isn’t rising.

Chris Grayling appeared on the Marr Show yesterday, and although the interview resembled a rabbit trying to maul a sheep, the Transport Secretary managed all on his own to make a complete hash of it.

Asked initially about the rise in costs from the original £30bn to the current £56bn pricetag, Grayling tried to make out this was all about pleasing communities along the route, opposed to HS2 Ltd getting fleeced by contractors, saying:

“The cost increase is about amelioration of the route.”

He seemingly went on to suggest that the cost of the Chiltern tunnel extension is over 100 times the official £250m estimate, somehow responsible entirely for the £25bn increase. After admitting the cost has gone up, he then decided to completely backtrack, saying:

“The important thing to say is the costs aren’t rising.”

But even if the costs were going up, which even a primary school child would realise, it doesn’t matter as he basically told the contractors, who are of course now led by the HS2 Ltd CEO, that all budgetary control is out of the window and they can charge what they like. Marr asked:

“My real question is, is this a blank cheque? Is there a limit? Is there a moment when you say, I know it’s a big prestige project, I know there are a lot of egos are at stake here, but this is now too expensive, and it cannot cost, and you actually pull the plug?”

Then came and unbelievable reply from Grayling:

“No there isn’t.”

To prove just a good a grip he has on the brief, Grayling then came up with:

“One of the myths about HS2 is it’s about speed.”

Andrew Marr did of course point out that people may well be forgiven in thinking that, due to the project being called ‘High Speed Two’, but the Minister decided to say it was all about connectivity, a departure from and a far weaker argument that the oft-trotted-out capacity argument. He finished off with another staple sounbite:

“If you are going to build extra capacity on the railway, why would you not build a state of the art railway?”

Well, despite the fact HS2 isn’t ‘state of the art’ you might argue that you might decide not to build a railway to these specifications because:

It won’t carry freight,
It won’t serve intermediate towns and cities,
It costs more to build,
It costs more to run,
It costs more to maintain,
It is all or nothing,
It maximises damage to the environment and communities,
And it’ll use about three times the electricity.

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6 comments on “Grayling says there is no limit to HS2 cost, which is and isn’t rising.
  1. Pleasing communities along the route! Give me a break!
    If money is no object and he wants to please us then give us the Colne Valley Tunnel we have all requested.

  2. Any thoughts about MagLev? I was told by my MP that it wouldn’t carry freight, and it definitely won’t serve intermediate towns, but… with cheaper construction costs, minimal maintenance costs (since it’s not actually in contact with the guideway), higher speeds, steeper gradients and tighter turning circles, would you think it would be worth a shot?
    Plus, it would look cool. And put us ahead of the rest of the world, just like Brunel did in the 19th century.

  3. You get the feeling grayling was only giving his new post to ensure the evil satanic project goes ahead regardless of anything!. And BTW note he doesn’t live anywhere near it so no 24 hour a day construction noise pollution for him for the next 25 years for him.

  4. Government wants to misdirect councils to match fund. Pathetic rail route needs changes. Stop this farce before UK becomes a laughing stock of misrepresentations.

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