Grant Shapps has said the government will approach HS2 with the same attitude as it did the London Olympics to ensure the project it is delivered on time and on budget.
It is after Boris Johnson yesterday gave the controversial high speed railway scheme the go ahead, vowing to “deliver prosperity to every part of the country”.
HS2 is already 10 years in the making and has been the subject of much criticism after a string of delays, spiralling costs and concerns over its environmental impact.
The original £32.7 billion budget has now been projected by a review to surpass £100 billion, while the deadline has been pushed back by more than a decade.
The Transport Secretary acknowledged that the project had been so far been “terribly managed” and said there was “plenty of criticism to go around”.
“I think HS2 have not behaved very well, I don’t think they’ve had the oversight, I don’t think that they have been really answerable to anyone,” he told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer.
Mr Shapps welcomed the move to introduce a minister specifically responsible for overseeing the project, who he said would “eat, live and breathe it 24 hours a day”.
He said: “We’re just going to grip the whole thing to make sure it is now delivered to the schedule and to the budget as well, which for a civilised country shouldn’t be too much to ask.”
However, the decision to push through with the project has not been welcomed by all.
Climate Change campaign group Extinction Rebellion said the project would “destroy much of what little remains of Britain’s precious woodland” as well as become a “vast new source of carbon emissions”.
And Jeremy Corbyn criticised the growing railway’s bill in the Commons yesterday: “Today’s proposed boardroom shakeup comes far too late to avoid the public having to fork out tens of billions more than was forecast in the first place”.
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