HS2 could end up costing taxpayers double the current estimate according to new research from the Institute of Economic Affairs. Lobbying from local authorities for new links to HS2 stations and changes to the route to keep voters on side are likely to add around £30bn to the overall cost of the project. Estimates already put the project at £43bn and when the cost of new trains (£7.5bn) is added, as well as the additional £30bn, it takes the total close to £80bn – equivalent to £3,000 per household.
The High-Speed Gravy Train: Special Interests, Transport Policy and Government Spending  also shows that the true long-term cost to the economy is even higher. HS2 will divert funds from high-return transport projects that could have delivered over £300bn of benefits.
The additional £30bn in costs comes from lobbying that will mean:
- Additional infrastructure - for example, various new rail links, tram lines and road upgrades that will now be given the green light to cope with the additional pressure on infrastructure along the HS2 route.
- Design changes such as extra tunnelling to ‘buy off’ opposition. Critics have already claimed an extra £600m has been added to the project to keep the route away from towns in George Osborne’s constituency.
- Taxpayer-subsidised regeneration schemes around the new stations and in towns that are bypassed by the line.
Both HS2 and the ‘add-on’ transport schemes will be heavily loss-making in commercial terms – hence the requirement for massive taxpayer support. Even the government’s own estimates of the costs and benefits suggest the schemes are poor value for money compared with alternative inve