David Davies, the Conservative MP for Monmouth, and other members of the House of Commons Welsh Affairs Committee which he chairs, met Mr Oakervee to discuss funding for Welsh transport, and how the independent HS2 review could help to make the case for diverting more money to Welsh transport infrastructure.
The meeting followed a written submission to the review by Mr Davies noting that the UK government claimed it could not find the necessary £400m to fund the electrification of the railway line between Swansea and London, and yet HS2 is now expected to cost £30bn more than initially expected.
Last month prime minister Boris Johnson and transport secretary Grant Shapps commissioned Doug Oakervee to lead a review into whether and how to proceed with the High Speed 2 project after they learned that the project cost was likely to be not the previously advertised £55.7bn but actually somewhere between £72bn and £78bn in 2015 prices – or £81bn to £88bn in 2019 prices.
Wales would like a bit of that.
Mr Davies said after yesterday’s meeting: “Welsh public transport faces chronic underfunding, but the UK government continues to plough money into HS2 at an alarming rate.
“The astronomical sum of £78bn can hardly be justified for one rail project, when urgent modernisation is required throughout the network – particularly the route between Swansea and London which still takes three hours. I have urged the chair of the HS2 Independent review to consider this.”