The Transport Secretary has defended the controversial HS2 high-speed rail project which has come under criticism from campaigners, Labour, and the public accounts committee.
Patrick McLoughlin said: "Any big major infrastructure project like this will led to criticism, of course it will. you're not going to build 350 miles of new railway and not have criticism.
"There is a sceptism with government ministers promising a glorious future which is some way a way down the line, unless we make these type of decisions now we don't get it."
A spokesman for HS2 Action Alliance said that the Government's "need for a political legacy" has overcome the need for an improvement of existing rail services. Richard Houghton said:
Much has been made of the potential disruptions of upgrades to the WCML but of course the major upgrades have been done and the required developments to release capacity would be tiny in comparison.
Indeed the disruption in converting a First Class carriage to a standard one, or from train lengthening is nothing compared to rebuilding Euston and having several platforms out of use for eight years that HS2 requires.
But this pragmatic unsexy approach doesn't fit with the need for a political legacy that is so clear in the Government's increasingly strident defence of this white elephant.
Transport Secretary Patrick McGloughlin today said HS2 will "deliver growth and jobs across the country".
At a speech at the Institute of Civil Engineers he responded to backlash earlier this week that the train will take business away from the regions.
The Department for Transport has been tweeting extracts from Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin's speech about the HS2 high-speed rail project:
Patrick McLoughlin: people questioned the M25. Or thought we didn’t need the Jubilee line to Canary Wharf. These doubters were wrong. #HS2
PMcL: high-speed rail is not some untested fantasy but a reality in many of the world’s leading and fastest growing economies. #HS2
PMcL: the main reason we need #HS2 is as a heart bypass for the clogged arteries of our transport system.
@DanielHewittITV: On cost @SirRichardLeese says HS2 'cant be a blankcheque' but says there's no alternative that will deliver capacity,growth & connectivity
@DanielHewittITV: MCR City Council Leader @SirRichardLeese tells me#HS2 must go ahead. Without it Manchester will be cut off from London & the rest of Europe
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has rejected the findings of the Commons public accounts committee, which criticised the costs and benefits of the HS2 high-speed rail network.
Mr McLoughlin said the case for the £50 billion project was "absolutely clear," as rail routes would be "overwhelmed" by rising passenger numbers. He said:
"The project will free up vital space on our railways for passengers and freight, generate hundreds of thousands of jobs and deliver better connections between our towns and cities.
"HS2 is a vital part of our plan to give Britain the transport infrastructure it needs to compete.
MPs from the Commons public accounts committee have called for the Department of Transport to provide more detailed evidence to support the estimated £50 billion investment. Presenting the committee's findings, chairperson Marget Hodge said:
The pattern so far has been for costs to spiral - from more than £16 billion to £21 billion plus for phase one - and the estimated benefits to dwindle.
In my committee's experience, not allowing enough time for preparation undermines projects from the start.
The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee has criticised the spiralling costs of the proposed HS2 rail link to the North West. The high speed line is due to connect Manchester with London by 2033. It is being predicted that the cost of the project will exceed the £42 billion budget.