The United Kingdom (Metro Rail News): The U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will spend as much as £100 billion ($129 billion) on a controversial new high-speed rail line project linking London with central and northern cities after PM Boris Johnson backed the plan despite rising values.
The High Speed 2 development will become Europe’s largest infrastructure project yet it has suffered delays and criticism of its management, with spiralling cost estimates. The first trains may not start running until 2031.
The Johnson govt believes the new line extending from the capital to Birmingham and then on to Manchester and Leeds is essential to revive the economy in regions that backed Brexit and voted for his Conservative Party in last December’s election.
Johnson announced his final decision to continue with HS2 in a statement to Parliament on Tuesday. “The cabinet has given high-speed rail the green signal: we are going to get this done,” Johnson said the House of Commons on Tuesday.
The project is extremely sensitive politically for Johnson’s govt.
Backers of the plan state it will reduce journey times, increase capacity, create jobs and help to connect northern and central parts of England to the wealthier south. Increasing the country’s former industrial heartlands is Johnson’s key political mission now that the UK has left the EU.
He got a majority in Parliament largely thanks to persuading voters in these areas to back him, with any traditionally Labour-supporting districts electing Conservatives for the first time. But many Tory members of Parliament oppose HS2 project because the line will cut through their districts, causing severe disruption for thousands of constituents.