The HS2 high-speed railway project is needed because without it, the existing rail network will be "full by the mid-2020s", the Department for Transport said today, after the Institute of Directors slammed the initiative.
A spokeswoman said: "The scheme is forecast to generate over £50 billion of benefits for the UK economy but we know we must maximise every economic benefit HS2 has to offer.
"That is why the HS2 Growth Taskforce was created, headed up by Lord Deighton, to work with city and business leaders to ensure we are capitalising on every opportunity to help regeneration, job creation, investment opportunities and in building a skilled UK economy."
There is "no other alternative" that delivers the "benefits" of HS2 said chief executive of the project today, after the Institute of Directors slammed the initiative.
While we respect the right of the IOD to state its case, we believe that HS2 will provide value for money and will bring about a transformational change to the economic geography of our country...
The IoD have not yet released their polling data but it is clear that their members are strongly in favour of increasing capacity with 80% supporting investment in long-distance trains and 41% supporting HS2.
Investment in the West and East Coast main lines as well as a variety of other infrastructure projects would be a "more sensible option," the director of the Institute of Directors said today after it slammed the HS2 high-speed rail project. Simon Walker added:
Businesses up and down the country know value for money when they see it, and our research shows that they don't see it in the Government's case for HS2.
We agree with the need for key infrastructure spending, but the business case for HS2 simply is not there. The money would be far better spent elsewhere and in a way that will benefit much more of the country.
The cost of the HS2 rail project which will travel through parts of Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire could reach at least £80bn, almost double the current estimate.
The study by the Institute for Economic Affairs called for the project to be scrapped according to the Sunday Telegraph.
In the report, to be published tomorrow, the IEA says the cost of the scheme has been vastly underestimated, and argues that the £80billion price tag could deliver £320billion of value if spent on road and other rail and transport projects.
Campaigners are also warn that more than half a million people will have their lives affected by the project's construction.
HS2 has been launched to provide a 250mph rail link between London and Birmingham from 2026.
The report suggested that the government's £42.6bn estimate would spiral because of a variety of factors, including changes to routes and extra tunnelling to placate opposition from campaigners; new stations, grants for regeneration and compensation for towns and cities bypassed by the new line.
An HS2 spokesman told the paper: "We have considered all construction access routes as part of the development of the draft Environmental Statement... The consultation was open to all members of the public to respond.. We have sought to provide construction access with minimal disruption.
In developing the subsequent formal Environmental Statement, we will be considering how we can further reduce any adverse impacts. HS2 Ltd is still developing transport routes for the construction of the line, accordingly it is not possible to definitively say how the road network will be used."
Plans for a high speed rail link between London and Birmingham, crossing parts of Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire, could generate billions for the economy and create thousands of jobs, according to the Government.
Today the Transport Secretary announced an HS2 growth task-force to maximise the rail scheme's economic benefits. But others say the plans are a huge waste of money.