Is the economy making us stupid? (It’s the stupid economy)
“HS2 will be an engine for the economy.” “High speed rail does not promote economic growth.” They can’t both be true so please make your selection now. Or maybe the truth is a bit of both, though this would be rather inconvenient for both the promoters and opponents of HS2, not to mention a host of other major transport schemes.
It seems that the economy has become the principal battleground for big transport projects. Congestion, capacity, accessibility: they’re all mentioned but the over-arching issue seems to be the economic impact of such investments. This makes the fact that we remain unsure what the impact is all the more annoying to those who would like to base significant decisions on sound reasoning and evidence. It is quite helpful, though, to those who can make vague claims about growth or prosperity as a substitute for admitting that their enthusiasm for the scheme in question is based on more immediate self-interest. (more…)