23 December, 2106
The connectivity gains to be achieved by HS2 were not included in the project’s budget of £56bn. What is included is known, in HS2 speak, as the core programme. Unfunded elements are known as wider programme benefits.
As far as one aspect of the wider programme benefits in the West Midlands is concerned, we are beginning to have an idea of the scale of additional expenditure that taxpayers will have to find.
The Devolution Deal for the region has a £4.4bn Growth Strategy to make the most of HS2 arriving in the West Midlands. This includes the Curzon Masterplan in central Birmingham. As part of this Growth Strategy there is a Local Connectivity Package of 20 transport schemes to effectively ‘plug-in’ the two new HS2 stations to local transport networks.
It is not difficult to see that once such costs are added to the overall scheme the much-quoted total budget of £80bn, looks positively modest.