Ditch HS2 and invest in commuter lines and local buses

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HS2 is an EU vanity project - put money into commuter trains and improving local roads and buses


Transport has been my life and I believe as a country we need to refocus our priorities. HS2, for instance, was always an EU vanity project and has squandered billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money.

The vested interests of big business have been pushing this project from the start and that includes the Freight Transport Association. 

What you might not know is the HS2 project originated from Decision No 1692/96/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on Community guidelines on the development of a ‘trans-European transport network’. 

It’s time to make the best use of our money to improve the British transport infrastructure.  Money ‘saved’ by axing this white elephant would help improve commuter lines across the country, restore some of the 50% of lost subsidised community bus services, and invest in genuine road improvements. 

UKIP believes in concentrating on the true value to the community and not just on what supports ‘friends and cronies’. When it comes to transport it’s time to fight big business in favour of the regular working man and woman.

HS2 might save half an hour on the journey from Sheffield to London.  But I worked out it would be cheaper to buy and operate a fleet of helicopters for the relatively few number of people who will be able to afford tickets on the trains in order for it to make a profit.

And HS2 trains if used at top speed effectively emit twice the pollution of standard high-speed trains.  Even on official HS2 projections, the project still won't be carbon neutral after 120 years.

In addition, we want to see the return of all rail operations to a central government body once existing franchises expire or are returned.  It makes no sense the government subsidising foreign government-owned rail companies when we could be doing this ourselves. 

I was involved with the original rail franchises and saw how new companies were set up for train leasing, maintenance, track operation and how those companies were then sold cheaply to the City and then sold on at huge profits.  At the end of the day it is the taxpayer who has had to pay.  A unified, centrally organised rail system would be a huge improvement on the fragmented mess we have now.

Stephen Lee, UKIP Transport spokesman