Here’s a fabulous idea, create a pilot, high speed rail route from London to Cardiff:
- Firstly, the UK government moves away from the idea of private-public partnership and decides to build a 320km/h rail link from London to Cardiff.
- The revenue is raised by increasing VAT by 0.1% and uses the increase in revenue to fund the building and maintenance project over a 10 year period.
- The selected rail operator then gets to run the route over a 10 year period, paying the government for the contract and usage of the track (this is normal practise at the moment anyway).
- After five years study, a conclusion is drawn up whether or not to expand the project elsewhere in the UK.
- The funding of the project comes from a relatively small increase in VAT, does not cost the government anything additional to collect, and the 0.1% increase could also be used to fund other, nationally benefiting projects (i.e. improved infrastructure).
- The line should effectively pay for itself over a longer period of time – take the French system as a good example.
- Improved travel time between major cities
- With improved infrastructure, the M4 motorway could become a toll road, and with a high-speed rail link, the argument of having no alternative goes away.
- As a "pilot" project there is nothing to lose. The government can claim it is improving infrastructure, trying to cut carbon emissions, and if the pilot project is considered a "failure" the West of England and Wales still has a fast rail link across the country.
- The UK gets TGV or ICE.
- This is the UK
- NIMBY (Not in my backyard)
- Too much of a "tradition" to block good ideas
- I am sure there are many more downsides that people will find, but I will not go on.
I still like the idea of raising VATh by 0.1% to fund improved infrastructure projects 🙂
- High Speed UK – living in hope