MPs’ inquiry into transport project overspend
An influential group of MPs has launched an inquiry into the delivery of major transport infrastructure projects to understand why some schemes like Crossrail and HS2 have seen “dramatic” cost increases.
The Transport Committee said it was undertaking its inquiry after billions of pounds of investment was committed to the UK’s transport infrastructure in 2020.
The inquiry will consider transport infrastructure strategy and priorities; the appraisal and funding of transport infrastructure; oversight, accountability and governance of transport infrastructure projects; factors influencing the cost and capacity and skills required to deliver the infrastructure plans.
It will also look at the extent to which the coronavirus pandemic will affect the necessity and cost-effectiveness of current and future major transport infrastructure projects.
Chair of the Transport Committee, Huw Merriman, said: “A vast amount of spending has been promised by the government to boost the economy and ‘level up’ across regions and nations. The 2020 budget promised £640bn of investment for projects across the UK, boosted by a further £5bn to support economic regeneration after the coronavirus pandemic. Most recently, the 2020 Spending Review and the National Infrastructure Strategy committed billions of pounds of investment in transport infrastructure, and particularly, road and rail projects.
“The hefty price tag on these transport infrastructure projects brings an equally hefty responsibility on the Department for Transport to ensure the money is spent fairly and projects are managed and delivered well. This work will be set against a backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic which has raised questions about the continued value of some major transport projects. The government is also reviewing its guidance on best-practice appraisal, known as the Green Book.
“Given the scale of the funding and the breadth of the projects, this could be a time of tremendous opportunity for the Department for Transport. The Transport Committee is keen to glean an insight to Government thinking and practice on what could be a new era for transport infrastructure – if delivered well.”
The Transport Committee is calling for written evidence on all or some of the following terms of reference. The closing date is January 15, 2021.