27 June 2014
After George Osborne announced the government’s plans for HS3 earlier this week, a number of people have asked my opinion, having heard about my previous concerns over HS2. I think it’s important to stress that I’ve got no problem in investing in infrastructure if the money is there.
Is there no way on this planet that the money for these projects could be better spent? I’m all for improving transport links in the North, but ploughing £7bn into shaving twenty minutes off the journey between Manchester and Leeds doesn’t seem to add up.
The word connectivity is being used a lot in reference to the high speed rail projects, but I would question whether this is outdated. Isn’t connectivity about creating stronger internet links like they did in Amsterdam? Imagine how much better commerce would be.
Technology these days means that you don’t have to spend as much time travelling for business. Face-to-face conversations take place online. You only really have to go to different cities for important appointments or for leisure.
To me, the real meaning of connectivity is internet access. The money spent on these rail projects could be better spent on better connectivity or on health and education. I would argue that education transforms countries. We need brighter minds, not faster trains or wider motorways! I’m not against improving transport links. I’m against the government wasting money that we’ve worked hard to build up.