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iberal Party NEC Statement - Review of the High Speed 2(HS2) project
#1
The Liberal Party believes that Britain needs a modern transport system that is as environmentally friendly as possible. We need to encourage people and freight away from our roads and planes.
 
We also recognise that our rail system still has bottle necks at key centres on what is still a network designed and built in the Victorian era.  
 
Therefore, we believe that a new properly designed rail network will in the long term prove to be economically and environmentally cost effective.
 
While we recognise that high speed lines built in other countries have proved popular and effective, we do have concerns that building what has become known as HS2 in its current guise may not justified by an analysis of the costs and benefits of the scheme.
 
Even the government’s own figures suggest that HS2 represents poor value for money compared with alternative investments in transport infrastructure.
 
Any new lines or complete network needs to have easy interchange with and be part of the national network not a separate entity.
 
Local authorities, transport bureaucracies and business groups are already lobbying central government to fund new infrastructure along the route, with several schemes already identified.
 
Designed correctly new infrastructure including new rail lines has the potential to boost the economy. Done badly it has the real possibility of triggering billions of pounds of additional expenditure on commercially loss-making, taxpayer-funded projects.
 
Along with design changes to ‘buy off’ wealthy opposition and subsidised regeneration projects, these proposals threaten to push total spending far beyond the basic budget.
 
The Liberal Party therefore believes that what has become known as HS2 network, should have an overall rethink.
 
The design process should consider good connections at key centres and that the overall timescale should ensure that where new lines are needed, they are not built as a rush job, but as a well thought out and viable addition to our transport system.
 
As such they would alleviate pinch points and bottle necks in our aging infrastructure and meet the needs of a modern environmentally aware Britain.
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