The Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough has called on HS2 to be scrapped with some of its budget used to ‘transform’ the county’s transport system.
Mayor James Palmer said transferring money from the high speed rail line “could work wonders in this region,” adding that it could “pay for our priority transport projects” and “make work and social travel affordable”.
HS2, if completed, would link London to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds.
It was originally expected to cost £56 billion but there are fears the bill could rise to £100 billion, prompting a review into the scheme.
Mayor Palmer, the leader of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, said in an statement: “Don’t throw good money after bad is a sound principle, and for years alarm bells have been ringing over the money pit that the HS2 project has become.
“All around the country, historically underfunded regions like Cambridgeshire and Peterborough have been crying out for cash to link up our key centres, and a share of that HS2 pot would be transformational.”
Mayor Palmer said “the big issue holding back England is not how to go north or south but how to get across the country, from east to west,” as he suggested splitting the HS2 budget between the nine mayoral authorities in the country.
He added: “At a stroke it could pay for our priority transport projects, projects to link our market towns and cities with effective services and make work and social travel affordable.
“New rail stations at Soham and Cambridge South, a new rail link to Wisbech, a dualled A47 and A10, a third crossing over the Great Ouse, fresh ways to reform the bus network, including franchising, and the Cambridge Autonomous Metro are among our priority rail and road projects to change life here for the better.”
Mayor Palmer also argued that “there are already excellent north-south links in place”.
The combined authority is currently consulting on a draft Local Transport Plan.
To view the plan, and to see where consultation events are being held, visit: https://cambridgeshirepeterborough-ca.gov.uk/about-us/programmes/transport/ltp/.
The consultation ends on September 27.